Using leftovers. I enjoy re-doing and re-making things. I always have. Taking what I have on hand and making something useful again:
- Whatever I might have in the pantry or frig becomes a one-time kind of meal.
- Pieces of cloth become a comforter, pillow or something for the wall.
- Scraps of wood become art, wooden trays or even furniture.
Things that began life as one thing are “up-cycled” into a new life. So where did this tendency come from?
Growing Up Embracing Leftovers
For me, some came out of necessity. Using and reusing was a way of life in the world I grew up in.
- Dad, an auto salvage operator disassembled cars for usable parts and scrap metal.
- Clothes were re-done and handed down. If they were too worn out, the cloth was remade into quilts, comforters or some other useful item (remember cloth dust rags?).
- Mom composted in the garden and turned grass clippings and leaves into flower beds.
Today, it is called being “green” by recycling, up-cycling and re-purposing. For us it was being practical and frugal. We were not poor, but we conserved cash for what only cash could buy and avoided waste of things and time.
In addition, there was my grand-parents farm where nothing was wasted. Even what did go into the trash was used as fuel for the stove. Paper, bits of wood and anything that would burn would make it into the incinerator.
Along with the methods used by my parents, my grand-parent’s cows, pigs and chickens were fed vegetable and fruit scraps, in addition to their regular feed, The dogs and barn cats were glad recipients of meat scraps and bones, after they were boiled for broth, of course! Bailing wire was the all purpose duct-tape for farm machinery, until a proper repair could be made. You get the idea.
I do not consider myself “cheap”. I enjoy nice new things. I have some of the finest Irish China, French and German crystal and German flatware there is. We only use it a few times a year and I do not feel one bit guilty about it.
None-the-less, there is something in me, profoundly satisfied when an old object is remade and given new life. Aside from the practical aspects, there is actually a deeper root to all of this.
Loaves and Fishes – Divine Leftovers
This root is found in the two stories of multiplying loaves and fishes as told in the Gospels*. In both cases after the multiplication had occurred and everyone had eaten their fill, Jesus had the leftovers gathered up and collected.
Why would the Son of God who had just multiplied food do that? To show off? Not really in his nature. To give a sign to the disciples of God’s ability to provide? Perhaps. The answer is in the text: Jesus said: “Gather up that which remains so that nothing is lost.” Jesus did not want to waste the leftovers! Wow, what a concept. God, who created everything, does not waste, even leftover bread and fish.
I like that foundation for this “thing” in me. It goes to a place beyond lack into a space that is cavernous. Big. Really big. In my post, A Tale of two (end) Tables, I describe how a couple of dated and rather sad pieces of furniture became four new pieces. Not exactly miraculous, but useful none-the-less. I get such a sense of joy when I look at those “new” pieces and now I know why.
So what does this have to do with your and my Stonebridge? This life journey? You and I were made complete. There is nothing lacking in our DNA. It is all there waiting to be found, put to use, and expressed.
- Gifts can be discovered, unearthed and honed into skills, then used. Perhaps you have a gift but it needs a bit of re-purposing, dusting off or a new form of expression.
- Talents need development to become useful. Has something you used to do become dated or dull? Polish it up with a new color of paint and put it back into commission.
- Skills , yet unknown brought to light. Those that are rusty shinned up and re-employed.
This idea applies to both the intangible and tangible things in our lives. I endeavor to spend several days a month in my re-purposing shop scratching this itch of mine. It is in this place in which leftovers are taken in hand, a bit of vision and creativity added and skills applied so that “nothing is lost”. Some of the items I will use myself, others will end up at The Kechi Korner looking for a new home. Come on by!
What “leftover” will you pick up this week and put back into use? What gift or talent have you found and have given expression to? Please comment in the box below!
*Feeding the 5000: Matthew 14, Mark 6, john 6, Luke 9. Feeding the 4000 Matthew 15.