Today Mark talks to us about redemption ~
Don’t you love the sound of that word? Man, I do!!! It conjures up a lot of sweet nostalgia of my childhood in addition to the beauty and satisfaction that surrounds the grown up version of the word. Redemption is, in essence, taking something of little inherent value and exchanging it for so much more.
When I was young, they didn’t sell 2 Liter plastic containers of soft drinks. You got an eight ounce, 12 ounce or a 32 ounce glass bottle. The containers had a redemption value of 5-15 cents apiece, I think. So, when a handful of mischief-making preteens would find themselves in need of a few bucks for their latest miscreant scheme, we would scour basements, roadsides, or parking lot corners for bottles. We were eyes wide open with encouraging shouts coming from any eagle-eyed kid that scored a 32 OZ bottle. When we had enough we’d take our loot to be redeemed. It might take a whole Saturday, but it was like free money to a kid! It was challenging and sometimes unpleasant work but it didn’t feel like work; no raking leaves, no shoveling snow, no washing cars – just a pot of silver at the end of our dirty-bottle rainbow!
I have memories of my mother straining over coupons to help get groceries for a family of seven during a troubled economy. I didn’t appreciate it then but, waiting an extra few minutes as the coupons were redeemed at the checkout was a small price for me to pay for the benefit they represented to us. Before there were rewards programs like we have today, she would collect S&H Green Stamps and Plaid Stamps from the grocery stores and those stamps would make their way into a booklet which magically transformed into cookware or someone’s birthday gift when they were redeemed.
Today, redemption means more to me than ever. It’s revealed in the movies I love, the stories that move me, and the relationships I give myself to. My life’s journey has been shared with people who, like me, have known periods of amazing redemption and change, yet still have untended places in their lives. It’s a garden, blessed with beautiful flowers, and ugly weeds. Healthy, nourishing vegetables and rotten vines. Breathtaking orchards and neglected fields. Sound familiar? You’re not alone – we are SO in this together.
Redemption comes from letting yourself be known. To be really known requires the difficult undertaking of knowing others. It’s messy, painstaking, and you have to be deliberate. Just like the dirty bottles and my mother’s methodical prudence, redemption takes time and energy. Sharing your story – the good and the bad – is the path of authenticity and it attracts authentic people who will let you know them through and through. Look for trustworthy friends who will know and cherish the real you and who themselves will allow you access to their sacred story. Being a part of reclaiming the patches of earth in each other’s hearts where not much garden remains is the essence of meaningful redemption! It’s the stuff that makes life worth living, not just for you but for all of us! It. Saves. Goodness!
Redemption is a powerful part of Goodness. Have you thought about that much?