Inspire | Lessons from a Tangled Jumble of Jewelry

May 12, 2018

As we were getting our kiddos ready for bed, our foster daughter handed me a twisted, tangled, knotted jumble of necklaces. We had several conversations recently about keeping her jewelry neat and organized so this type of thing doesn’t happen (again), but she had had her own way of “organizing” things. Earlier she had received a jewelry box from my mom as a birthday present, so this was the perfect time to once again sort through the jumble of jewelry. In my mind, I thought This would be a great time for a lesson on why it is important to keep your things organized. It wasn’t until later that I realized, I had learned a bigger lesson myself.

This time, the jumble seemed a little more tangled. It was a little more knotted. It was a little pile of metal links all twisted and connected with seemingly no end. As I held it in my hand, there were literally thick knots of interlinked metal. How in the world does this happen? I thought to myself? But she brought this puzzle to me to figure out. She was counting on me to fix this. Knowing I couldn’t do it right then and there, I told her I would work on it and give it to her in the morning. Unfortunately, I fell asleep…

About 3am, I awoke and went downstairs for a glass of water. As I walked down the stairs, I remembered—the necklaces! I need to try to get those untangled before she gets up that morning. So, I took that twisted, knotted jumble down to my office. How hard could this be? I’ve untangled this mess half a dozen times or so before. Piece of cake. Boy, was I wrong! I placed the pile of metal on my desk and for the next couple of minutes held it in my hand trying to figure out how to get this puzzle unraveled. It seemed like every time I tried to pull on one chain, another knot would get tighter. Every time I tried to pull this one, it would only get worse. Initially the pile was a little loose, but knotted. Now every time I tried to extract one chain, the ball of metal would only get tighter…and tighter.

I sat there and meticulously untangled my way to one of the clasps. I then realized that once it was unbuckled, I was able to loosen the rest of that chain a little more. It still took some time, but having that chain finally opened allowed me to weave the end through that metallic web. And finally, one whole chain loosened enough to be freed from the jumbled mess! I looked at it and wondered How many necklaces are even in here? Well, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that I needed to extract the rest from their tangled bonds. Time to get to work…

After a little over an hour, I finally had six separate chains on my desk. As I looked at those necklaces, a few thoughts came to my mind. One was that, although she will be happy that they are finally untangled, she’ll never realize all the work it took to get it done! But after a few moments, I realized something even more important: She doesn’t need to know how much time and effort it took…she just needs to know that it is done. When she brought this tangled puzzle to me…she asked for my help…she wanted me to fix it…for her. I don’t say that in any prideful manner, but reminded myself that when she comes to me with a tangled, knotted jumble (whatever it may be), she needs the confidence to know that she can count of me being there for her, and know that I’ll work on it until it is fixed.

Foster parenting definitely has it’s challenges as well as blessings. Knowing that your kids can come to you with whatever problem or issue they may be facing (whether big or small), reminds us that we’re doing something right.