Do you have someone who fixes things in your world? I grew up with a Dad who can fix anything. If it was broken he fixed it. Matter of fact there are running family legends/jokes about how long things can last in my Dad’s care (coffee pot, bread maker). This is because my parents take care of things (they still have the original box for a lot of their stuff) and they do regular maintenance. The underlying reason is that they truly believe most things are worth fixing. That might be why they are about to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary!
I was startled this morning by a loud crash from a bedroom as a kid got up and ready for school. When he emerged from his room 10 minutes later I asked what had fallen? He looked at me blankly…
“What made the loud crash?”, I asked. He looked puzzled and then started looking for the words.
“Oh… the… I don’t know what it’s called… the … place where the green book is…”.
“Did anything break?”
“What did you do with it?”
“I put it back up”
This is not the first time something has broke in his room. A while ago his lamp discombobulated and wouldn’t work so he stuck it in the corner. He didn’t tell us. I noticed it and set it back on his bedside table. He told me he didn’t use it so he didn’t want it. I assured him it could stay on his bedside table and when it was dark earlier he would need it. I discovered it didn’t work when I went to turn it on one evening. It literally fell apart. When asked about it he just shrugged. It never occurred to him that we could fix it.
I don’t know what his world looked like before he came to us, but I have seen many examples that he believes things that can’t do their job anymore should be discarded. It seemed normal to him that a shelf would fall off the wall and he just had to deal with it. They regularly want to throw things away because of a bit of damage or because they don’t need them. Maybe there was repercussions for breaking things, or the despair as things fell apart just became normal. The other mother may not have had the skills or resources to repair and maintain basic household stuff. That seems to be true for bigger things as well. She seems unable to “fix” her current brokenness, apparently doesn’t even see the need to work on it. I wonder if that is because she believes that once it’s broken it cannot be fixed?
I was brought up with the belief that anything could be fixed. I married a man that has a similar belief. That has become part of the foundation of our life. It is often a positive thing as we deal with the challenges of making things last as long as possible when there is no money to replace them. It translates into our relational world as we continue to navigate complex relationships with people and believe they are worth fighting for. It has shaped how we live our lives as we step into the world of fostering and believe that these children are not broken beyond repair. We can love them and through that have a part in fixing some of the damage. All of these things come back to a core belief that everything can be fixed.
In a throw away world where we so quickly move on to the next new thing and discard the old, what lesson are we absorbing. I think the answer lies in the broken relationships and overflowing landfills that surround us.
I believe that when it comes to people, stuff is worth fixing, but fixing things that involve people is hard work! It can be difficult, tedious and time consuming. It can take all the patience and love you can offer and then require more. It can’t be done alone, I don’t have infinite skills, but with the help of a community and a love for seeing things restored I believe we can change not only the state of our stuff, but the state of our hearts!
What would change if you truly believed that no matter how broken it might be there is hope! Not all stuff can be repaired. Stuff has a life span. But people are different. Everything is fixable!
In the midst of the mess