Pinking shears have a utilitarian function for cutting woven cloth. Cloth edges that are unfinished will easily fray, the weave becoming undone and threads pulling out easily. The sawtooth pattern does not prevent the fraying but limits the length of the frayed thread and thus minimizes damage.
For some very strange reason, the conversation at breakfast last Sunday with my parents led to pinking shears. So often when we were young, the only pair of scissors to be found around our house were just that, pinking shears. As I ponder this I realize the significance of being raised in a family that rarely went straight by the book, kept everyone in line or cut right to the point. As I see it, we were raised to have utilitarian functions for weaving through this world. We were given the right tools and the proper example not to be easily frayed or undone by life. Oh sure, as with everything and everyone, "things" occur that can cause damage but we were prepared to deal with such times by clinging to our faith and to our family so as to limit and minimize. What a wonderful tool for my parents to have passed down and what a perfect time to be reminded that life itself is just not about straight lines and easy paths and completely finished products. There will always be a little fraying, a little unraveling but if we can stay close to the very One who can minimize the effects, we have learned to use the tools given wisely. Not always easy, but effective. And, we have to do the work. We have to trudge the uneven paths. We have to persevere through the crooked roads. We have to deal with the unraveling. If there's damage, may it be minimal. If fraying, may the pattern we are given limit the length. May God be with us all as we cut through this seemingly uneven, frayed life and search for meaning and for love and for the way back to the very One who gives us life.