I have a collection of lovely utilitarian baskets used for drying, picnics, fruit, seeds, harvesting, flower cuttings, and general storage. Many sit right at my back door to grab on the way out to the garden. Several grace my kitchen and dining tables, depending on their function for the day.

By the end of the week, my fruit basket usually rests empty awaiting the weekly grocery or farmer’s market refills. By the way, I found this particular fruit basket hanging outside a small country store on the way to the Cedars in Lebanon several years ago. I ended up purchasing three in graduating sizes!

My mom’s favorite saying when inspecting our rooms growing up to see if we’d cleaned them to her standards was, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” If accompanied by an arched eyebrow, this idiom translated to, “keep cleaning, not quite there yet!” Invariably we had stashed something where it didn’t belong.

I kinda had the same reaction last Friday when I walked into the kitchen and “arched my eyebrow” at one of my cats! He was :

1. On the kitchen table where he definitely didn’t belong, and

2. Curled into the empty fruit basket where he definitely didn’t fit!

With some creative coaxing and scolding, making sure I was firm but not too abrasive, he got out of the basket and hopped down off the table, returning to his own designated “place” for napping.

This vignette reminded me of how I sometimes go into contortions trying to fit in where I don’t belong, like into others’ expectations of what I should or should not be. Or, I might really, really want a certain relationship, career, or move and try every which way it to fit by changing myself and sacrificing my integrity and my self-worth.

Jesus talks about what happens when I fill up a container with what doesn’t suit the container’s purpose. Both the container and its contents are spoiled!


Have you ever tried to fit in where you didn’t belong? How did it work out for you?

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men sew wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out, and the wine skins will be ruined.

Matthew 9: 16-17

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