I'm living in a house that was purchased in 1960 and had one owner. When we moved in, it was full of a life that was lived.
Since we've moved into it, we have spent hours sorting through vacation souvenirs, family photos, handmade clothes, kitchen supplies, closets full of linens and the likes.
Through this "cleaning" we have noticed how the person who lived here tried her best to keep her home in the best shape possible, even when she wasn't able. Tonight as we cleaned the master bedroom in preparation to rip the carpet up and paint the walls, we discovered mini-blinds that were taped together with kleenex to block the light out and chipped paint held in place from the places it was falling by scotch tape. While it is a nuisance to remove from the walls, the scotch tape struck a chord with me and immediately saddened me upon its sight.
Here was a precious woman holding together something she found precious with scotch tape. It immediately led me to think about how I have done the same thing with my life over the years. I've looked for the quick fixes, the band-aid healing to keep from experiencing hurt or the unknown. I've often made hasty decisions because I didn't want to participate in the actual restarting of something.
Or worse yet, I've looked for the scotch tape fixes to help someone else.
It's so much easier to put a bandaid on something for a temporary solution than it is to work for a permanent fix.
Recently, I've pondered how so many times ministry becomes a scotch tape fix it. Groups of people swoop down on others - homeless people, unwed teen mothers, hungry, impoverished, etc. - and provide a quick fix over a week of service or one day a week. Instead of providing the hand up to help someone out of the situation, we create a temporary fix it and then we move on to something else. That many times, ministry or missions becomes about how it makes us feel - we lose sight of the why we are there.
Too many times we don't stop to consider what happens when we leave.
Have we taught a man to fish, or did we catch it, clean it up, fry it, and serve it for dinner for him?
Did we serve because we are loving people or did we serve to advertise our church and get people to attend?
This week I have a group of friends visiting Rwanda on a trip sponsored by Noonday Collection and the International Justice Mission in Rwanda. It is not a mission trip, but a story telling trip. I've been reading blogs, view photographs, watching videos of the sewing co-op that Noonday helped to start 3 years ago.
I'm sure there were many groups who came in and offered immediate assistance and that was much needed. But what I love about Noonday - they came in 3 years ago and taught this group of women a trade. A trade that would empower them. A trade that would lead to full-time employment. A trade that would allow them to have an education, provide for their families. A trade that would restore their lives and rebuild their communities.
It's not a scotch tape fix it. It's a scrape the old paint, wipe the wall down, prime it to prepare it, and paint anew.
That's the kind of fix it I want in my life.
*All images courtesy of #StyleforJustice and #NoondayCollection*