Getting a bargain is always nice. Everyone enjoys saving money. The challenge is to sort through the bins of irregular or last season’s clothes, dented furniture, used car, or damaged items at the grocery store. We ask ourselves, “Can this be recyclable, usable, or re-purposed?” We give these items second, third, and more places of service in our lives. I have a dresser that I bought in 1980. I got it at the yearly scratch and dent sale put on by Gayfers Department store. Reader, they were like a Macy’s or Dillard’s store in the Panhandle of Florida before such department stores ever came to the Gulf Coast. Going down memory lane of places and names gone by has a purpose in nostalgia. There are stories of people, places, and events to recall. There is a witness to the backstory that one holds for gratitude, lessons learned, hard earned wisdom, and painful lessons in survival. People, places and things are integrated attributes to such a journey.
This dresser has been moved to four states and eight homes. This dresser has been the holder of my clothes, and later painted and artistically designed to be a part of my daughter’s wishes for a Victorian bedroom design. Today, it sits in the guest room for grandchildren and is the holder of every Disney movie they would enjoy watching. The journey this dresser has weathered as it serves its purpose of storage continues to this day. And I am a witness to its journey. And for all the scratches, dents, and stains this piece holds, I am struck by its beauty that is more than nostalgic projections because of its history. It has been a thing of beauty, purpose, and practical in spite of its imperfections.
But, what do we do with people that are perceived and projected upon to be damaged goods? Do these souls, in their travels through the scratched and dents of life experiences, have something to offer? Do we have the capacity to see past the agedness and see the earned wisdom? Are we capable of forgiving youthful ignorance and temporary immaturity? When we see another’s vulnerability, do we feed ourselves on the trough of ego laced heroism? Do we see the pain and fear in our fellow human beings and offer peace for their pain and forgiveness for their fear? When a helping hand is extended; do we slap it away? Do we own our own scratch and dents that scar our own story? Do we take out our own stuff out on others and participate in the dents and scratches done to another?
More importantly or better yet: are we reflectively willing to consider this set of attributes within the quest of questioning? “What are we grateful for and who are we grateful for in our lives?” “Where are we honest/humble, forgiving, peaceful, generous, loving, kind, or peace-making?” “Do we live lives of hope?” “Can we balance empathy with healthy boundaries for holistic caring?” “Are we capable of living a life of introspective realism rather than judgementalism and opining opinions?” “Does the internal us match the external us we offer to the world?” “Are we people of faith or are we people of masks, fears, and internal angst as damaged goods?”
Scripture on holistic balancing of life is found in II Tim. 1:7. This is a life verse mantra for me in my introspective work of spirituality and living a bold life with God, self, and others. “God, did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and self-control.” I will address this verse further at another time. But, for the purpose of this reflection, it is my hope we come to realize we are all the apple of Gods eye. We are loved for all that is flawed and fabulous about each of us. God has a purpose and plan for each of us in every age and stage of our wonderful lives. (Jeremiah 29:11) God will meet us where we are on the map of life. God is not surprised, fooled, or even off put by the scratched and dented flaws in our humanity. God is willing to sojourn with us, and be for us and recreate us out of damaged and damaging moments. (II Cor. 4:8-9; Phil. 4:6-7; Ps.46:1) The world does a lot of labeling, opining, and polarizing people to live lives like we are damaged goods. God sees past the noise, fear, and ignorant perspectives and simply invites us to be. Be whole, be well, be loved, be of good cheer and be hopeful. Be God’s child and go from there.