On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

3856888-recycling-symbol-on-a-cardboard-box-textureI got several recycled gifts this year – not the “re-gifted” kind that someone didn’t want and decided to pass on, but some very special gifts from some very special people. First, there was the phone I told you about last week. David has been looking for ways to expand our limited connections to satisfy my ever-expanding demands. When a good friend upgraded to the latest and greatest, he made David an offer he couldn’t refuse on his existing phone. The friend works for one of the major telecom giants, so rather than being a shop worn hand-me-down, the phone is like new in the original box and has all the accessories and the latest software updates. That’s recycling at its best. But I also got two other very special recycled gifts, items that were something else in a different life and were reincarnated into something different.

Wind ChimeThe first was to both David and me from our kids and grandkids. Maybe Christian remembered the collection of wind chimes that graced our patio when he was younger, at least until a sudden Texas wind storm left them in bits and pieces all over the back yard. Or maybe Amy just thought this combination of glass and metal was pretty and the tinkling melody would bring a smile to our faces when the wind brushed the delicate chimes. Most likely, though, they saw the tag that said The wind sings the beauty of the earth on the front, and on the back it carried the following explanation:

Aurora Glass is a recycling/economic development project of St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, a nonprofit organization helping Oregonians in need with emergency services, housing & jobs/training. Proceeds from this item help support SVDP’s charitable work.

That’s a pretty special gift. It brought joy to the recipients, it saved a bit of trash from the landfill, and it helped raise money for a good cause. That’s too special to be left to the mercy of the Texas wind. I think I’ll find a place inside where the ceiling fans and the air conditioning will make some music.

The other special gift was to me from my brother and his wife. I knew this beautiful necklace was special when Broken China NecklaceI read the card that came with it:

Broken China Pendants: broken dishes renewed, broken lives transformed. All proceeds benefit the Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas.

And then Jo Lynn said, “That’s made from a piece of your Mom’s Blue Danube.”

You can imagine how that affected me – teary eyes, lumpy throat. Mom wasn’t much of a collector, and she sometimes had a tendency to go for quantity over quality, but several decades ago she fell in love with Blue Danube china. For years every Christmas wish list consisted of which place settings and accessory pieces she wanted to add to her set. By the time she considered her collection complete, she had every standard serving bowl and platter plus a three-tiered candy dish, a soup tureen and ladle, a teapot, candlesticks, and even a wall-hung letter organizer. Her special treasures were brought out for holidays and special guests and lovingly packed away for safe keeping between uses. Miraculously, most of the pieces survived the ravages of arthritic fingers and failing mental capacities, and the almost complete set was passed on to Jim and Jo Lynn and is now proudly displayed in their dining room. There were a couple of saucers that were missing cups, and now even those have found a place. I didn’t have room for the entire set, but now I have a little piece of something that was very important to Mom.

If I were talking to Jim or Amy or any of my preacher friends, I’d probably say there’s a sermon in there somewhere. It would probably be something about looking past the surface of things, people, relationships, those things that seem to be good for nothing more than the trash barrel. If you look closely and use your imagination, you might find something completely different than what you expected, and in the process, you might bring joy to someone and help someone in need.




Comments on: "Recycled Gifts | by Linda Brendle" (2)

  1. I think I’ve told you before about the similarly shaped piece I found on the beach at Gloucester, MA, when there with Shellie and Leanne in 2004. It’s waiting in my jewelry box for the inspiration to create its story… Won’t hold a candle to this one… What a special gift you were given!

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