Our yard needs some serious love. Right now it reminds me of those yards that have become holding grounds for half-wanted objects--a purgatory for things. You know, the yards with two kinds of...well...stuff: used stuff awaiting their sentences (either repair or junk yard) and stuff awaiting the perfect project (that pile of possibilities...). Some of us would call it all "junk."
By nature I am a purger. When in doubt, throw it out. Yes, this has caused me regret on more than one occasion, but I have an uncontrollable revulsion to things without a purpose now. All "thing purgatories" should be banished!
Despite my strong opinions on stuff-in-waiting, my home is not immune to accumulating its own share of these piles. I am human (with five other humans living here besides). We don't have a collection of cars in the meadow or mounds of building debris beside the driveway; but with Spring finally here and days slightly warmer, my children play outdoors more; and inevitably they find "treasures" from who-knows-where that never seem to go back to their places of hiding. Pieces of pipe, strands of plastic fence, planks of foam...where do they find this stuff?
Yet these objects I so quickly deem "junk" are treasures to my little children with life-size imaginations. They become traps for fire-breathing dragons, platforms for sun-bathing fish, and rheumatism crutches for old adventure-seeking rabbits (Uncle Wiggly anyone?). To them, nothing is useless.
Did you hear that? To the little ones of this world, there is no such thing as junk. My son insists through tears (and tantrums) that it can be fixed, and my daughter dreams yarn scraps into hair for her handmade ballerina. For children, nothing is without hope. Nothing is too far gone for redemption.
Isn't this the message of Holy Week? During Lent we ponder how lifeless and empty and useless we are without Christ. Our family places a vase of barren branches at the center of our table to reflect our pondering hearts as we feel the full weight of our judgments and mistrust and greed and see the barrenness and death within. Yet by Easter these branches will bloom brightly and with it the message that because of Christ we are not too far gone. Through the deepest sorrows and highest joys that make up Holy Week, we must believe we are not without hope. Though we may look useless, like junk, we are indeed all piles of possibilities.
And, thank God, Christ doesn't leave us as mere possibilities. He is--slowly, slowly--transforming us into purposeful works of grandeur. It's as if children, with their innate gift to see the treasures in the trash, already know this. Everything has a deeper layer of "something more," and it is their calling as children to discover this.
I still have plans to clean up the yard. After all, I believe strongly that God made us to be caretakers of Creation. But I will have more mercy on "useless objects" that have been given special purpose by my children, thinking of them as reminders like our vase of barren branches: that because of Jesus, I too have hope and possibility and redemption.