Life, love and Elmer’s glue

fallen tree
Advent is a good time to listen a bit more closely to the voices, like those in the Advent scriptures, that call us to look at our lives and our world a bit differently.  During Advent this space will feature stories and reflections by friends whose writing and insights I appreciate.  I hope you will too.

This column was written by Rev. Jayne Davis, minister of spiritual formation at First Baptist Church in Wilmington, N.C.  I met Jayne last summer when we participated in a weeklong conference for pastors on ministry and social media at the Collegeville Institute at St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minn.  Jayne and her husband have four children.  TL

I didn’t hear the Christmas tree come crashing down in the middle of the night.  I vaguely remember my husband asking if I heard dishes shattering.  Just another bizarre dream, I thought.  No thief in the night would waste his time on my 24-year-old Macy’s everyday china.

But the sad reality was quite evident the next morning as the tree rested wearily against the back wall, strands of garland huddled in random clusters clinging to bent branches for dear life, and many an ornament reduced to its hook and a single hanging shard of painted glass.  My husband took a dustpan and broom to the glittery mess and collected what salvageable pieces he could find scattered about the living room and placed them in a bowl on the kitchen counter.

I’m rarely accused of being sentimental.  In fact I’ve been hanging some of those ornaments on low branches, hoping my cats would do some dirty work for me. But seeing the Baby’s First Christmas 1994 figurine with its sweet little face in three pieces, or the crystal snowman with my daughter’s name etched across its belly missing its head and scarf, stopped me sadly in my tracks.

I grabbed my glasses and found a bottle of Elmer’s glue in the cabinet and the snowman’s head behind the sofa.  For over an hour, I gently secured memories back together, like a puzzle that contained life in its very pieces.  They’re now more beautiful than I remember, hanging on our upright and secured Christmas tree; six restored ornaments with faint scars and tiny chips, each with memories and dreams held tightly together with love.

Has something come crashing down in your life recently?

Sometimes it’s only when things seem beyond repair that we realize how precious they are; how much we cannot bear to part with them.  Keepsakes we treasure.  People we love.

Be careful as you clean up the mess.  Pay attention to what you keep and what you throw away.  Some pieces are sharp.  Some are just debris you don’t need.
But if you look closely, if you search even in unexpected places, if you are gentle with yourself and what you hold in your hands, you may find enough pieces that matter most to love something beautiful back to life.

May the God who is making all things new be the glue of your life this Advent.  JD


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