October 18, 2006

Broken Things

Most of the people who have visited me in my new house could probably list all of its imperfections. Not because they are picky or critical, but because I have made a point to show them each one as we tour. Here's a broken closet door; the old doorbell in the hallway isn't even connected to the front door; there's a hole in the tile; the cabinet doors don't shut.

Why do I always feel the need to reveal my broken things?

What we do with the broken things in our lives probably says something about who we are. I tend to do one of a few things when I find a stain or a crack. Get rid of the item (probably my first inclination), try to make it like new, turn it into something it's not, or keep on using it as it was intended, even if it is a little worn down.

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This is exactly what happened with another broken thing in my house. For some unknown reason, I have two stove tops both of which came with the house. One is on top of the oven where it should be (a stand-alone oven/range), and one, stained, dirty and missing all its knobs, is built into the island countertop (actually, it's more of a peninsula, but I'm not sure they make that geographical distinction in cabinetry).

My first inclination was to get rid of the old countertop one. Who needs two? Plus it's gross. And I could sure use the counter space. But it was a bigger job to get rid of than I could do on my own, so I decided to clean it up a little in the meantime until my dad could help me. Once it was clean, it seemed like it would work just fine as a countertop itself, so I set a candle on it, and a bowl full of winter squash and I find my mixing bowls and measuring cups gravitating there while I bake.

But Saturday, as I tried really hard to ignore this broken thing by cleaning it all up and using it as it was never intended, I realized that even though it's not in mint condition, it actually could still be used as a stove. True, I don't need two stoves, and I would never choose two. But I have two, and both work.

Two stoves could be a burden -- finding someone to disconnect the old one, taking it to the dump, buying a new (and expensive) custom-cut counter top, and having it installed where the old stove top was.

But with a little love, two stoves might be a blessing. What if I decide to cook a gigantic meal for friends sometime?
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I think this is why I reveal my broken things to others -- not just about the house, but about my spirit, and my attitude. I want to see what other people do with the broken things, and people, in their lives. Are they going to throw me out (like I am so quick to do)? Try to fix me or make me be someone I'm not? Or are they going to love me and let me do what I was made to do. Even if it's not perfect.

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I recently got a stain on a perfectly good shirt and against my very natural instinct to throw it in the yard sale box, I washed it, hung it back up in the closet, and will continue to wear it.

I want other people to know they are safe with me.

1 comment:

L.L. Barkat said...

I guess I am a fixer... personality thing, stewardship thing, upbringing thing...

but sometimes this annoys my friends, because it does spill over into relationship... finding the balance between acceptance and mending is never easy...

still, I note that Jesus was full of Both Grace and Truth... acceptance and mending... so I don't want to completely throw away my mending tendencies.

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