April 21, 2021

I come from a line of women who were great at repurposing things, a product, no doubt of living through the Great Depression. My grandmother made sock monkeys for all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. It wasn’t until my own sons’ sock monkeys began to spill their guts (in other words their stuffing) due to little boy hugs and tugs that we discovered that my grandmother used old nylon stockings for stuffing. Imagine repurposing run-ruined nylons over three generations! My sons were in shock as well a little bit of nausea when they realized that their lovies were stuffed with their great grandmother’s nylons.

My mother-in-law was, and still, is a great repurposer. After one visit to her home early in our marriage, I was going through a shopping bag of “treats” she sent home after a visit. In addition to cookies and a couple of slices of pie, I found a cereal box at the bottom of the bag. Inside the cereal box were a number of small packages. Each package consisted of the kind of waxed paper linings that you find in cereal and cracker boxes. When I looked closer, I discovered that every single one was the waxed paper lining from an assortment of cereal and cracker boxes. These contained the small broken pieces and crumbs that remain at the bottom of the box when you’ve eaten the good parts. The top of liner had been folded over several times and then secured with waistbands cut from old panty hose – a fill-in for rubber bands. The contents of the packages made great topping for casseroles and cakes.

Jesus told a story to explain our responsibility for making good use of the talents we’ve been given. My Readers’ Digest version goes like this. “A wealthy man went on a long journey and entrusted his property to three servants. To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent. The servants who received three and five talents used those talents to make more for the man. The one who had been given one talent buried it in the ground out of fear of the man. When the man returned, he was delighted with two who made good use of their talents and gave them even more to use. But to the one who buried his talent he took even that one away.”

May we creatively use what we have, especially those items that we have and don’t use. ~ Anne

These meditations are provided as a ministry in this time of pandemic as a ministry of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.

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