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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Good Fit is Hard to Find

I never have a problem with leg room. I fit anywhere, if you can call feet that never reach the floor and knees that never bump the back of the seat in front, a "fit." I sure feel sorry for those tall travelers who have to sit in coach. Must be pretty uncomfortable.

When I took driver training in high school, my instructor --I'l call him Mr. X -- had the supreme misfortune of getting my name on his roster of students. That was back in the days of bench seats, so, in order to accommodate my tiny stature, we  had to move the seat all the way up. Mr. X had, in his younger days, been a pro-football linebacker. He was a handsome, well-built almost-giant who stood 6' 6". His good looks and adult suavity made me even more shy than usual.

Poor Mr. X.  Being scrunched up into the dashboard for a half hour next to me must have been agony. After two weeks, he probably wound up at the chiropractor.
Bad as Mr. X's driver training experience was, I'll bet his discomfort didn't come close to my psychic suffering. A more sensitive teacher might have treated the lack of "fit" with humor. But every time the man grimaced when it was my turn at the wheel, I felt like an ugly pygmy frog with facial warts and body slime. And afterward, I'd slink home and sulk in my room for a while, wondering if Mr. X went home and told stories about my ineptitude to his tall, adult friends.

With adult perspective, I realize that Mr. X didn't do too much instructing, didn't care about teaching, didn't care about us kids, and didn't even recognize us individually if we happened to pass in one of the high school hallways during the weekdays. His interactions behind the wheel with us three kids amounted to: "turn right; turn left at the next intersection; apply the brake more slowly next time; okay, let's switch, who's next?"
I did not fit that bench seat; Mr. X did not fit with me, and Mr. X did not fit with his job.

I cared very much about finding the right fit for myself when I drove my first new car, a Dodge Omni.
Since those days of bench seats, engineers who built cars finally realized that even short people need --for comfort and safety-- to fit their car seats. I finally found a car with bucket seats that moved up and down, tilted, and, moved far enough forward so that I did not have to prop myself, behind and under with pillows in order to drive.
Since my Dodge Omni days, I have continued to find cars that fit.

But people fit? That's a whole different challenge. My fit with Mr. X was more of a lack of fit with his personality than a problem with physical disparity. How do you make people fit each other?
Do you hammer the bones of our sockets so that our eyes focus on exactly the same things? Do you whittle the width of two people's ideas so that they align perfectly? What if you used a grappling hook to seize opposite ends of our hearts to stretch and mold them into uniformity?
All of these seem so violent. I hope we never force our own fit on someone else.

It's a difficult thing to do, maybe an impossibility, to make our insides fit together.
Even in the church, where we're supposed to be united in one pure-hearted vision of God-worship and service, even there the fit is uncomfortable.
Christ is the only Person who "fits" inside of each of us comfortably. Like water, His Spirit enters and flows into each empty place, filling it to the measure of its capacity, then moves on, never bursting the chambers, never over-filling to the point of distension.
I heard someone say that we, as believers, each fit into a giant puzzle. God has designed each of his children to interlock and create a large and beautiful picture.
But it's a puzzle that can, on this side of heaven, only be viewed --or perhaps only be felt, since we do not see clearly -- in small parts.
I suppose a good fit is all about knowing well and loving well.
I do not fit well with those I do not understand. I must come to know the size and shape of the person I'll fit next to on the puzzle board.
I must love and admire the puzzle pieces around my empty spot enough to mold my piece to fit in with theirs.
To  fit well, I must both know well and love well:
 "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge --that you may be filled to the measure of all the fulness of God."

Have a great day. And have a great "fit" day.


  1. Hi Dena -

    Lovely, thoughtful post!

    I view the Body of Christ more as complementary rather than uniform. Each of us has gifts and talents the others need. We're valuable to others when we function according to His plan.

    Susan :)

  2. I agree, Susan. Uniformly devoted to Christ, varied in the gifts we bring. That's what I meant by "fitting in."