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Don’t Pull the Thread

Don’t Pull the Thread

I didn’t recognize the number on my phone but answered it anyway. “Hello?”

“Hey, Mrs. Hatcher? Hey. Umm…,” he started.

I should have recognized the awkward hem-hawing and known the conversation wasn’t headed anywhere I wanted to go. The youth pastor called me to meet him across the college campus, where I was chaperoning a group of middle school girls at church camp, to come talk to him about my son.

“There’s been an incident and somehow a mattress has been destroyed,” Pastor Brian told me.

“I’ll be right there.” I cut him off and took long strides across the open common area between dorms. I walked in the boys’ dorm and was pointed to a room where I found the youth pastor, my son’s counselor, my son and two of his – shall I call them accomplices? Men moved quickly out of the way of this mama on a warpath.

Seeing the aforementioned mattress across the room, I lit into my son. I gave him the “you represent our family, our church and most of all Christ” speech before giving him a chance to explain what happened.

I just pulled that little string and kept pulling and then we realized the whole mattress was falling apart. His friend chipped in, “Yeah, I was trying to pull it off because it was hanging and getting in the way, and Colin (my son) grabbed it and started pulling it to help. He told us, ‘It will come eventually.’”

And it came alright. My son and his friends had mistakenly pulled the seam that held together the dorm room mattress. As it turned out, they were innocent. They thought they were pulling off an errant string, like yanking one off the bottom of a shirt. Only this one was a little stronger and didn’t tear away so easily. Instead, what seemed like an innocuous thread was the thing that held the whole mattress together. Covered with a fitted sheet when they were pulling it, they had no idea they were destroying the mattress.

After I calmed down and understood the situation, I told my son he didn’t do anything wrong. It was a mistake anyone could have made. But isn’t that like a lot of things in life? Strings that seem innocent are the very ones holding it all together. And after a little pulling, everything comes falling out.

I’ll tell you like I told my son. If you are looking to pull a string (whether it’s on a piece of clothing or figuratively in a parenting or family situation) and nothing happens, do a little checking to find out why. Don’t keep pulling and pulling without knowing the consequences. Because, just maybe, you need to tuck it back under and leave it alone.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise. Ephesians 5:15 ESV

By: Carol Hatcher is a former elementary teacher turned writer. This sassy, southern author and speaker lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Come visit her at

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