Sometimes my wife chucks stuff. Today I caught her sneaking two bags of my personal belongings into the trunk destined for the Sally Ann. Perfectly good stuff. Cassette tapes. A beautiful watch. It doesn’t tick, but it has golf club hands. Trousers that fit me nicely…back when I was in high school. I guess I’ll never get to be on that hoarders show.
I grew up in the ‘60s which was the golden age of fixing things. Mom re-used aluminum foil and tea bags. Once she helped me glue and nail together a broken hockey stick. She waxed floors so they would last longer. She hemmed pants and made her own cards. Dad never dreamed of anyone else changing the oil in our car, or of buying shoes when he could hobble over to Mr. Thomas’s Shoe Repair. He showed me how to repair bicycle inner tubes, what a carburetor did and where to buy string and glue.
It’s funny looking back. I thought everyone was as poor as we were, which would have made everyone astoundingly rich. You see, we had a garden. Hand me down bicycles. A swimming hole. We grew our own food, crafted our own Christmas ornaments, made our own candles and sold them door to door. I suppose growing up in an age of fixing up showed me that you can refurbish more than radios and lawnmowers, fridges and children’s toys. You can fix friendships. You can mend a marriage.
All this talk of the ‘60s has made me a little nostalgic, but the good old days weren’t all good. In fact, the writer of Ecclesiastes warned us not to ask “why were the old days better than these, for it is not wise to ask such questions.” That’s Ecclesiastes 7:10. How true. But here is a very wise question to ask. One that can help bring joy to life. What does God require of me today? Micah 6:8 gives the answer, that we act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
Certainly this includes binding up the broken, fixing friendships and mending marriages. Earlier I went out to the trunk of the car and retrieved all those things my wife threw away. I’m gonna go confess this to her now and thank her for knowing what to throw out and what to hang onto. I’m glad she hung onto me, even if she’s about to throw out a tie-dye shirt from 1969.
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