When I moved into my new office in June, one of the first things I put in place was this pretty, yellow doily:

What most might not guess, however, is that it’s not a doily at all but a dishrag.

I received it at a birthday celebration for a woman who had helped care for our children when they were younger. While she set up games like “Lucky Duck” and “Candyland” for the wee ones, we moms would wander into another room to mull over our faith and how we could best live it out within the domestic Church.

The day she doled these out was her special day. She was supposed to be the gift recipient. But it was important to her to share her treasures with us.

“Choose the color you like best,” she said.

I zeroed in on the yellow one and thanked her.

“It’s a dish rag,” she said.

“It’s beautiful!” I said, surprised. “Thank you.”

I never could force myself to use the handcrafted piece as a rag. I just couldn’t bring myself to toss it into the dingy dishwater.

Would I dishonor her by using it for something else entirely? Would she mind if, rather than using it to wash up macaroni-encrusted pans, I brought it to my office to find a home as a doily on my desk?

Every time I look at my knitted doily, given to me by someone who has lived a life of much suffering, I think of the contrast of dishrag and doily and can’t help but make this parallel:

To God, we are all beautiful, hand-knitted doilies. It is we who limit ourselves, fail to consider the grandeur of who and what we’re meant to be.

We are not dishrags, confined to a life of soaking in the muck. Rather, we’re meant to take our place among the beautiful, to shine brightly for the One who fashioned us.

Q4U: Have you ever helped someone who sees him/herself as a dishrag consider that they might be, instead, a pretty doily? Maybe that person is a child, a neighbor, a friend. Or perhaps that person is you.

Copyright 2012 Roxane Salonen