I took my lawnmower and the gas weed eater to the repair shop on the same day. I decided to carry the sick weed eater in first and then bring in the disabled lawn mower. Before I could even set it down near the service counter the man at the shop told me in no uncertain terms that they don’t work on “that brand” of weed eater. And why is that, I inquired? I was told that they were built so cheaply that they are not worth fixing. I felt like a leper that had ventured into the community and was told I was unclean. How could I have known at the time that I was buying such an inferior product? Other people in the store were giving me funny looks. I knew what they were thinking. Look at that guy over wearing the tie…He doesn’t have the sense to know what kind of weed eater to buy. But the story gets better.
With some hesitancy in my voice, I nearly whispered that I had a lawn mower that was in need of repair as well. What brand is it, I was asked? I started to say that it was a registered thoroughbred Toro mower, but I resisted. Apparently the Toro brand cut the muster though, because it was readily accepted into the lawnmower treatment center. I bade my mower goodbye and promised to come for a visit if they did not finish the repairs within a day or two. I tucked my tail and swallowed my pride as I walked back out to the truck with the rejected weed eater.
At first I was indeed a little irritated with the guy that works at the lawn mower shop. But I realized he was trying to save me money and some grief later. My parent’s generation fixed everything. Throwing something away was not an option. Jan’s parents have been in the farming business for nearly 50 years. Her dad has never called an appliance repairman to the house to fix a washer or dryer. He has always done it himself. He would not find himself in the lawn mower repair shop in the first place! Discarding a cheap weed eater is beyond their comprehension. And for that matter, discarding another human being is equally beyond their sphere of thought processes.
A friend recently posted this quote attributed to Audrey Hepburn:
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw anyone out.
We live in a throw away society. Don’t fix the weed eater. Throw it away and purchase one of better quality. The washer quits working. Discard it and buy one of those cool front loading machines. The list could go on and on…
Our friends have issues. We are temped to sever those ties. Members of our extended family disappoint and hurt us. We are inclined to withdraw. Those closest to us make terrible mistakes. We are tempted to move on and form new relationships.
I agree with Ms. Hepburn. People need to experience restoration. We simply must give them such an option. In many situations, relationships could benefit from ongoing renewal. Renewal in relationships requires tremendous commitment. In other cases, the relationship has died. It is time to get the paddles out. It must be shocked back into life in order for there to be revival.
I would hate to think that someone would communicate to me that I am not worth fixing. He is an inferior person! Go out and find someone else of better stock! Throw him away. We don’t work on his kind. And furthermore, I would hate to be on the other side of the counter telling someone else they are not worth the repair bill.
As we start a new week, I would ask all of us this question: Who needs you to reach out to them in a spirit of restoration, renewal and revival? It could be that a struggling relationship could indeed be redeemed and reclaimed in the process. Never throw anyone out… A challenge indeed.