Some people want do-overs of days or weeks or even years.
What we really need is a turn-over.
I traipse carefully to the barn over icy patches beginning to melt. Sound of birds chirping a new day tell me our long wait is near over. Spring is coming soon.
Grain and vitamins scooped into each pail, I push them through the stall doors. Roscoe, Libby, Shania, and Peanut—they all know which stall is theirs and they come in on their own from the paddock. It’s feeding time.
While they chew and swallow, I grab wheelbarrow and fork and start scooping. Every morning, I scoop and sift and hurl waste until there is no more room and I must empty. I must empty the waste to make room—to clear space for life . . .
I think about all this waste and wonder how much of my 54 years has been wasted. How much? If I counted the minutes, the hours, the days, even the years, how much might be considered waste in the grand arc of my life? Do I wish for a do-over? No. Not really. I wish for more turn over . . .
Wheelbarrow full to the upper edges, I lift and walk the heavy load to the designated spot for all life waste. Mostly horse manure, the pile also receives our organic kitchen scraps. I can see the red pepper seeds, the orange and lime rinds, the woody asparagus and broccoli stems, the coffee grounds.
I pick up momentum right before the edge of the pile and then . . .
I push the handles up, my arms rising with them.
I let go.
And the waste turns over.
“Good thing it’s almost spring,” I think to myself. “It’ll be turning time and this mess will get cooking.”
Spring means thawing and thawing means the ability to get the tractor out and turn over this expanding heap of waste. All that has been poured out, piling up from December through March, will be turned over, and turned over again, allowing rains to moisten and sun to warm until the pile is ready to be spread. And then the pile will feed seeds planted. Death feeds life. Turning over death creates life. “Waste” becomes food for growth, all because it gets turned over and softened with rain and warmed with sun.
So when we feel mixed up and churned up and we feel like we’re raining on the inside, like all is just a big waste, a mess?
Turn it over to the Son who can warm us and absorb all our tears and make life out of death, make full out of empty, so that nothing, nothing—is ever—wasted.
And in due time, beauty will grow—right there, right where waste once stood, piled and stinking.
There is hope.
Always, there is hope.
In those times when we feel like wrecks—like our life is a wrecked waste?
There is no such thing as waste in the kingdom of God. He can recycle all for new life, for true life—not just for the benefit of one, but for the benefit of all.