Cut or untangle?

Never cut what you can untie.

-Joseph Joubert, essayist (1754-1824)

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NASB

Have you ever had a knot in a rope, a pull cord, Christmas lights?  How about a piece of stubborn leather or shoe lace?  An irreplaceable chain, your hair?  Does the decision  you make to untie the knot or cut the knot depend on the value of the item, the time you have before you need to accomplish something or a deadline?

Let’s take hair for instance.  What little girl does not remember either accidentally pulling out her own hair when brushing it out?  I can remember being instructed to brush my hair one hundred times because I would not take the time to brush it slowly when I had a knot, resulting in many tears, some loss of hair to bubble gum or some other foreign sticky substance. Johnson’s no-tears shampoo could not undo some of those knots.  The brushing helped me to learnt to count to one hundred, and my hair was shinier.  The best thing was, I had less tangles because I was being more patient with myself.

Once you cut, you cannot re-attach.  I have cut many things in frustration only to find that trying to fix what remained was impossible.  It requires a special patience.  A patience that my husband has.  His Christmas light and knot de-tangling skills are second only to a surgeon’s.  There are, of course, cases to be made for cutting rather than untying, but that is another day’s writing.  For now, I’ll stick to in animate objects and possibly human beings.

Maya Angelou says, “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”  She knows.  Patience is the thing one needs especially when it comes to de-tangling; time runs a close second. It is so easy to just pull something apart out of frustration.  It is easy to throw it out, de-value it because it is tangled rather than restore it or take it to someone who can.

The loss of time is nothing compared to the restoration of the valued object. Of course there comes a time when you must cut, but generally I would ascribe that to saving a life or meeting a deadline.

The only one I know of who can restore a cut after I have severed something is Jesus.  Bringing it the Lord is a lot easier than waiting for the Lord’s timing.  But the result is worth waiting for.

Father Can You Hear Me?

Because of Him,



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