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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Learning for Life (08/23/04)

TITLE: Set the Toilet Paper Free
By Lynda Lee Schab


I'm about to tell you something very profound. It's an important lesson I've learned and I want to share it with you. Make sure you're paying close attention; you'll thank me later. Let's pause for a moment while everyone puts on their listening ears...okay. Here it is:

After each trip to the bathroom, check your shoes and make sure you didn't pick up any toilet paper on the way out. Because when you walk across the school parking lot with toilet paper trailing behind you, it's not a pretty sight.

Fortunately, I wasn't the one who brought the toilet paper along for the ride; it was my friend, Tammy. At first she was oblivious to the fact that she had company on her heels. Someone finally clued Tammy in and brought it to her attention that something long and white was dangling from her foot. She kicked helplessly, desperately trying to set the tissue free into the wind. A few shakes and few nervous sweat beads later, it was released from her shoe's deadly grip and up, up, and away it went!

But that wasn't the end of it, so to speak.

For a long time, Tammy heard comments like, "Hey, Tammy! Wipe lately?", and she was mercilessly razzed about how the tissue was probably left over from the stuffing in her bra. And when a bathroom stall was out of toilet paper, kids would just call on Tammy, who most likely had a spare roll handy. She probably got a bladder infection from "holding it" so long, simply because she didn't want to be seen entering the bathroom, for fear of more ridicule!

But even long after the jokes ended and our classmates forgot all about the TP incident, Tammy still frequently looked behind her to see if that gleam of white was following closely behind, panic threatening to rise up at the slightest attachment to her foot. How embarrassing! I can't imagine the humiliation! She must have been horrified!

Oh wait. Hmmm--- Excuse me a moment while I rip something off of my shoe...

Sometimes I do feel I have a long strand of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe. But instead of tissue, I am dragging along every sin, every mistake, every "oops" from my BC (Before Christ) past. It's trailing along behind me, square after square of every bad thing I've ever done. Oh, I've removed it by repenting. Probably more than once. Maybe several times. My Spirit knows it's gone, carried by the waves into the sea of forgetfulness. But for some reason my mind keeps telling me it's still there. I keep getting glimpses of white with every step. And even though God tells me it's not there anymore, I still look, just to be sure.

The problem with looking behind me is that I can't see where I'm going. And if I can't see what's ahead of me, I'll never get there. Or if I do, it will be with many bumps and bruises due to crashing into obstacles along the way, which could have easily been avoided had I been looking straight ahead in the first place! Because I have been born again, old things have passed away and all things have become new! (2 Cor. 5:17) Where I've been doesn't matter anymore. Where I'm going does. Looking back only slows me down, preventing me from becoming who God wants me to be.

So the next time you glance over your shoulder and see a stubborn little stowaway attached to your foot, give a little kick. Shake it off and keep moving forward. Eventually it will break away and fly off into the wind.

"No dear brothers and sisters, I am not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead." (Philippians 3:13)

Lynda Schab
Copyright 2004

Member Comments
Member Date
Al Boyce08/30/04
Pretty funny Lynda! Reminds me of a story an old girlfriend told me (and wishes she hadn't). She was in the habit of taking off her pants and underwear simultaneously (and not always putting them immediately into the laundry). One day in a hurry she stepped into her pants and went to work. Halfway through the day, an extra pair of panties "miraculously" appears on the floor of her office! She never lived that one down! You can imaging the jokes.

Anyway, I liked your emphasis on looking FORWARD in spite of any baggage we carry.

darlene hight08/30/04
Lynda, I love this! I will never look at toilet paper in the same way!
Lucian Thompson08/30/04
Oh, I laughed so hard! What a funny thing to relate to, and I loved the way you tied it into such a beautiful life lesson. You go girl!
Joanne Malley08/30/04
Oh, Linda!
Funny title and I loved the way you tied it into a lesson for our lives.
Wonderful writing job as always! :)
Kenny Paul Clarkson08/30/04
Reminds me of the Proverb, a lamp for my feet [with toilet paper] and a light for my path.

Good stuff!
John Hunt08/31/04
The title caught my attention, the article kept it.
Great job reminding us to "lay aside every weight" (Hebrews 12:1).
An excellent read.
L.M. Lee08/31/04
good article.

in school I remember the boys all "sneezing" around a girl who stuffed her bra and asked for a kleenex...it was sad.

BUT the worse thing is to the potty, pull up your panty hose, stuff your skirt and the TP in under the waistband in back and it dangles like a tail and you walk out - with your behind exposed to the world - now that's worse! :-D
addie mattern08/31/04
Lynda, I thought this was an awesome article!!! I can definately relate (not necessarily to the TP) but to your lesson. It made me laugh, too, which kept me reading! You have my vote also.
Sylvia Spielman09/01/04
Lynda, this was a great lead into the life lesson. I can relate to both!! There is no graceful way to shake off the lingering shoe hiker, but PRAISE GOD! we can give that other baggage to Jesus!! Great article!
Roberta Kittrell09/06/04
Lynda, how cool! So funny, so well written, and what a way to lead into a lesson for us all.

How I could identify with Tammy. In my case, we were seated at a restaurant eating our dinner. I excused myself and went to the restroom. I did my business, washed my hands and left the restroom and paraded what was, thankfully, a short distance. As I went around our table to my chair, my dear husband said, "You have a tail behind you." I looked and quickly rectified the matter, looking around to make sure all eyes were not on me.

God makes sure I don't suffer from delusions of grandeur. He has ways of keeping us humble.
Christine Wright11/01/04
This article truly captured my attention. Continue writing about the things in life that capture your attention no matter how significant or insignificant it may be to someone else. In addition, continue to allow yourself to see the good in every situation no matter what! Your writing is awsome!
Beth Muehlhausen06/22/05
Yup, TP or garbage cans full of guilt, why drag it around??? Good point told in a creative way! I enjoyed this.