While sorting laundry this morning, I noticed that my sock drawer was in utter chaos. With a heavy sigh, I decided that today would be a good day to clean out and sort my socks. After all, last night was frigid, and it was time to put my sandals into hibernation until next year. It would be an arduous task, and one that I never look forward to doing.

I riffle through the sea of misfit loners, grabbing whatever pairs managed to be there, and separated them. The pairs stayed in the drawer, while the singles got plucked and sorted by whites and darks, by ankle height, and whether they’re dress, casual or athletic. Being a runner and a gym rat, I have a lot of those colorful, dry-wicking polyester athletic socks. Most of those somehow manage to stay together, probably because they’re bright, and it’s hard to lose neon pink and green things in the wash.

Meanwhile, the ordinary “business casual” socks seem to be the ones that lose their partner to an untimely demise.  Whether it be eaten by the dryer, kidnapped by a cat, or stuck at the bottom of the one laundry basket that never gets emptied, their mates always seem to be lost. Sometimes, partners get separated into two different loads, then get thrown by themselves into the drawer. If they’re lucky, they’ll be reunited later, to face the outside world…or at least the inside of my shoes. Actually, I wouldn’t say they’re that lucky. After all, they’re socks. They’re forced to endure my less-than-pleasant-smelling feet on a regular basis.

As I was sorting the misfits, I had an epiphany, and took a break to write this all down. We humans are a lot like socks. We come in many different colors, shapes and sizes. Some of us are athletic, some are frilly and feminine, while others are bright and colorful. Some are soft and smooth, while others have a little extra padding. And like socks, we are always looking for our match…that one other missing piece to make us a pair. Some of us are lucky, and find our match early on in life. Others, like myself, are going through the sock drawer of life, yet to find that missing person. If I were a sock, I’d probably be a bright, comfortable athletic one with a little extra padding.

No matter if you’ve found your match or not, I’ve learned that you can’t change who you are inside. An athletic sock can’t become a fancy boot sock or a knee-high stocking. Of course, unlike socks, people can change their appearance, but appearance is secondary to the sole…I mean soul. Do the footprints you leave here on earth reflect who you are? What you believe? We’re always looking for something better. Always searching for why we’re here, and hoping we don’t end up in the trash with the other socks who either didn’t find their match, or have been stretched and careworn.

Fortunately, we humans are not actually socks, and all of our lives are priceless and valuable. So whether you’re happily single, or are in a pair with little booties of your own, know this: your story matters. Go do what you were born to do! And I am going to get back to cleaning out my socks.

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