There are many things I should be doing, or could be doing, today – many items on my TO DO list. And yet I am drawn to things that need repaired, or fixed, or tidied. I wondered aloud if I am distracted by these things to avoid my lists, or if something about these distractions could be a call to metaphor, a call to spiritual work. With that question, my Inner Critic stopped pestering about the List. Indeed there was a metaphor coming, and so I began.
Months ago, Hubby reported that the zipper on the sleeping bag had broken. I’m not one to toss a perfectly good sleeping bag because the zipper is broken and the fabric torn. The other day, I carefully removed that zipper, and put the sleeping bag back on the table where it had perched for months. Now what?
Well, I could make a Crazy Quilt…. I have loads of fabric, because, after all, I’m not one to toss perfectly good scraps of fabric, or shirts with ink stains. Do I need a Crazy Quilt? No, not really, not any more than I need a broken sleeping bag. But a Crazy Quilt would be a good repurpose. How long would I let this sit, in plain sight, waiting? Should I tackle it and get it out of the way? Or should I tuck it into storage for that elusive Someday.
The thought of a possible metaphor was enticing. Curiosity won. List set aside, I mined my fabric collection, searching my heart for Spirit’s leading. What might this task be telling me? How many things in our lives are kept, tucked away unused, just in case? How many items are forgotten in store rooms and attics, for our children to eventually sort through, toss, and roll their eyes at? Case in point, some of the fabric I have tucked away had been in my mother’s collection, upholstery samples too good to toss.
I think of our churches: old hymnbooks and choir music, old banners never used, leftovers from congregations long gone, rooms unused except to store things, pews that sit empty, treasures kept and forgotten. Is it time to repurpose these things, now before we are old and feeble? Now before no one remembers why certain things were kept at all, like the ancient photos in my father’s photo chest? Can we make a “Crazy Quilt” out of our gathered materials and structures that could be useful to someone, somewhere?
I expect I will soon have a repurposed sleeping bag to give away. Someone out there is cold. Someone out there needs this, and I do not. I doubt it will be a piece of art, but it will be useable. Is it time to rethink and repurpose much about how we do church, in order to make something useful for our community or the world? Or will we just keep storing things.
Jesus told the story about a farmer who said, “I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I can store all my grain and other goods. Then I’ll say to myself, ‘You have stored up enough good things to last for years to come. Live it up! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.’” But God said to him, “You fool! Tonight you will die. Then who will get what you have stored up?” (Luke 12:18-20, CEV).