I love the idea of recycling, upcycling, bicycling…
It seems that the idea of “reduce, reuse, recycle, educate” has biblical parallels: one person’s trash becomes another’s transformed product. Artwork, household goods, industrial items, water, ideas, and more can be recycled…redeemed for another use. And then we get to offer the transforming story up for the good of the order.
I’m all about redemption these days, too.
Redemption as a God I cannot see takes this mess-of-life and transforms it into something else…hopefully something beautiful.
If we’re honest and despite all of our “press”, we all have artifacts of life that junk up our days: divorce (check), fear (check), failure (check), awkwardness (check. check. check.)
Though life offers no real “do-overs” – we cannot undo what has occurred in the historical record of thought, decision, and action – we can hope to be remade.
(And I am smiling.)
It’s looks like this today:
“Dear God, I’ve got a bucket of crap that needs recycling.”
He walks in, looks at me, and grins…and then looks in the corner, under the stack of books, reflective running vest, quilt, and kryptonite. He asks about that hidden stash of unforgiveness and fear trashing up my teeny apartment. He takes my bag of scrap and holds it wide open without saying a word.
Just looks at me…and then to the pile of unsuccessful camouflage hiding my junk.
He never pushes or nudges or even asks about whether I have gone unwashed in the long morning.
It’s a stand off.
He – patiently waiting for me to give up my wounds – and I waiting for him to forget about it and move along.
Soon enough, I realize that the Fabreze that I sprayed into the corner junk pile to mask the smell has worn off and now my bitterness is beginning to stink up my home.
I look at him – avoiding his eyes – and say, “You know, I give you all my bitterness when I’m driving or wake up in flash-backing terror. That little pile I keep to remind me that I have every reason to be angry and hurt (as if I needed that sort of souvenir). I keep it so that you’ll get off your arse and start with a bit of vindication and being a Dad instead of a sideline quarterback. I didn’t ask or invite that crap. And you could have done something about it to make sure it never happened.”
He doesn’t look away. He’s not mad. He’s not guilty nor manipulated.
He’s just patient.
On this day, I sigh and root around under the quilt to finally extract the offending unforgiveness and all of its accessories. They go into the recycling bucket.
I hate him at that moment – when he resolutely offers to relieve me of the life-destroying gangrene of strife and pain.
And I loved him for being big enough to walk with me, small enough to sit with me and hold me in his embrace, and real enough not to ZOT me when I said “arse” or (worse).
I don’t know how he does it; shows up throughout the day to take out my trash and help me sort through what can be recycled.
I’m told he does this because he loves me. And he loves the people who have heaped this hurt onto me and who I could hurt be holding onto the bitter wounds.
Will he make a nifty planter with all of the crap I have given him?
Something sparkly from the shards of trust and days that I gave him?
I don’t care. He can do what he wants.
Because even though my faith feels wobbly, I will hold tenaciously to what I know to be true.
He loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
For the Bible (lately Jeremiah and Psalms) told me so.
And recycling sure beats ending up in the fire fracking dump.
Hmmm. Let me be a lamp. A safe place where the broken places offer light and welcome.
And now for Something Beautiful by NeedtoBreathe.