Ever since I learned that a finely sprayed mist of water works to smooth out wrinkles, I've rarely used my iron. But spraying doesn't work on all materials.
Five-year-old Benjamin, after an overnight stay, dragged a red plaid shirt from his knapsack. "Nana, I'm wearing this shirt today! It's my favourite!"
I could barely see the print, the shirt had so many creases. It looked as though he'd stored under his mattress for safekeeping. No fine mist will work on this, I thought. Heavy metal may, though.
"Great, Bean. Let's get it ready for you to wear." I walked to the closet and dug about for the iron, finally spotting it lolling behind the light bulbs and extra chords.
"Nana, what's that?" the Bean asked, when I hauled it out. He has seen his mother iron - but pre-schoolers need things repeated.
"It's an iron, Mr. Bean."
"Does it make noise? What does it do?"
"No noise, hon. But it makes things flat and smooth."
Benjamin watched me lay his shirt across the miniature ironing board (which I had to explain was NOT a snowboard) and begin pressing. "But why does my shirt need to be flat and smooth?"
The Preacher has protested flat himself, for eons.Even I don't know why smooth is better. But rather than flout convention and tradition, I changed the subject. (Distraction still works for five-year-olds - though barely.)
"Here you go, Bean. Put it on while it's still warm!" I said, swiping the collar one last time. He wore his flat shirt all day - though he did ask me to "warm it up, again" later.
The spray technique works well sometimes. On a recent sweltering day, I put on a scoop-necked cotton sun-dress. After misting the creases from the front, I called the Preacher.
"Hon, I've got some wrinkles in the back. Could you spray them out, please?" I handed him the water bottle and turned around.
The cool mist on my neck and upper back felt good. But he dallied so long up there that water flowed down my back. "Hey! You're not getting the dress! I said spray out the wrinkles!" I protested.
He chuckled, dropped the mister and limped off as fast as I've seen him move in years. I got his joke then, and chuckled in spite of myself.
"Wondered how long it'd take ya," he shot over his shoulder.
Souls, as well as cloth and skin, wrinkle up too. But the things that shrivel those - sin, fear, worry, desperation, pride, and frustration (for starters) - need spiritual solutions. Daily ones.
Got a wrinkled soul? Here's help: Apply heavy metal: the solid-gold, sword-sharp, white-heat truth of God's word. Return for a warm-up frequently. Mist constantly with honest conversation with Jesus Christ, and service to others. And enlist a trustworthy Christ-following friend to assist you with the wrinkles you're blind to. We all have those. Even the Preacher.