Tuesday, February 23, 2016

When you're trying to light up the place

Our friend Marni has just moved, and we went over to help her get things going in her new house.

“Do you think we can hang this?” she asked handing me a hanging lamp made of wood and corrugated cardboard. Really cute.

 “Sure,” I said taking it from her, but after turning it round and round, I couldn’t figure out how.

When we hung it from its cord on a hook we put in the ceiling, it just slid to the floor.

We sat down and stared at it. I guess we thought it might speak to us or something.

I Googled, “how to hang a hanging lamp.” There was surprisingly little help on the World Wide Web. You would’ve thought someone on this spinning planet had faced this before or maybe everyone knows how to do it except us.

What happened next reminded me of a situation a few years after my husband, Jerry, and I were married.

He came to me with a book he’d pulled from the shelf and held up the spine for me to read the title. “This is your philosophy, isn’t it?” I read the words on the book, Art from Found Materials.

I considered his question a moment. Sometimes, people around us can more clearly articulate our lives than we can. He was right. I nodded, “Yes, it’s my philosophy.”

We can wait our whole lives to get just the right tools, the right ingredients, the right resources, the right circumstances to solve a problem, to create, to do, to be, or we can look around us and with God's help, use what we have to reformulate the heartaches and disappointments, even the lack and create something lovely and surprising.

It's good to set goals. But often, life hands us circumstances for which we never planned, so we can learn to make art and beauty in those situations or we can grow bitter.

What were we going to do about this seemingly impossible to hang lamp? We considered a big box store. But neither Marni or I wanted to go, and we weren’t sure it would even help.  Between the two of us, we determined to take on this surly lamp with what we already had.

We looked through her toolbox and spotted some climbing cord. Purple. Hmm, maybe we could use this. Then we had the idea to take some wire off the back of a picture frame. Somehow, after putting the two together and a redo or two, we did it.

We were proud of ourselves. Purple climbing rope and everything. Now, after looking at the pictures, I’m thinking we might need another hook on the wall to run the cord across and down rather than just letting it hang. We’ll see.
I'm reminded of the Nester who says, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." Oh, yes.
So, look around you. Use what you have.

Who knows what you might light up? With lamps and with life.

"Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!" (Matthew 5:14-15 The Message).

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