Thursday, May 26, 2011


I'm wondering what is the first thought that comes to mind when someone reads that word. Used. Certainly it can be a loaded little word sometimes. There are all sorts of negative implications related to human relationships. Employers using employees for skills they don't have themselves and then not compensating fairly. "Friends" using each other for a whole array of reasons. Men using women for sex and women using men for money (or vice versa). The list could go on and on, and in those instances it is certainly a negative little word. But that is a discussion for a different day.

For the purpose of this post, what I am referring to is the way it relates to material and physical things. Used cars. Second-hand furniture, etc. I'm guessing most people don't necessarily mind *some* used things, but I would also guess that if money were no object, most everyone would prefer new to used. For most of us, buying things used is just a way to save money, I think. So again "used" is not the preference here. Not a terribly negative word in this sense. Just not the first choice.

As a lover of all things old and used and passed down, etc. , that second part is really interesting to me. Especially when I begin to consider the ongoing implications. By that I mean the desire to not only buy new things, but to keep everything looking as if it is brand new.

Why? I mean, I understand being clean and taking care of things so that they last, etc. I get that. That makes sense to me. But what doesn't make as much sense to me is the desire to have things appear as though they are always perfect and never used. A house that looks like a museum. A vehicle that looks like a showroom piece. Or even a face that looks like a molded plastic doll. What does the appearance of "new" accomplish in these examples? Does it make your family, guests and children fear to touch anything in your home? Does it make you so uptight you can't even smile when your kids pile into the car because you're so concerned they might get a speck of dirt somewhere it shouldn't be in the process? Does it make you miss out on all sorts of fun adventures because you avoid any situation that might cause your hair or make-up to get messed up? Seems pretty backwards to me.

I submit that we work to change the connotation of this little 4-letter word as it relates to material and physical things. Let's make it so that when someone walks into our house or climbs into our car, they feel immediately comfortable because they can tell that time and again, this place is "used". Not that it's dirty or cluttered--don't misunderstand. Just that there are signs of life. People spend time here. Lots of people. And when they do, they're comfortable and happy.

And not only that, but let's also be proud of our "used" bodies. Scars, stretch marks, laugh lines, whatever. Don't these represent experiences, most of which you would hopefully never trade? Would you give back your children to erase a few stretch marks? Would you eliminate every memory of laughing yourself to tears to get rid of a few laugh lines? I sure hope not. And even the scars. Maybe a few of those memories would be better forgotten. I don't know. But then again, could they serve as reminders of God's protection and healing in your life?

Let's not waste our energy preserving things that don't matter. Let's treat life as the adventure it is and "use" all the things surrounding us to make the adventure that much more enjoyable. And if everyone can tell how used all of your things are, maybe that just means you're having the most fun. Don't you want to at least make 'em wonder? ;-)


Anonymous said...

Becky: I love it -- seeing the scars representing God's protection and healing.. Thank for sharing.

Jen said...

This is good. A good reminder of what's really important.

Your comment about the home made me think of the countless times I yell at my kids for pulling the cushion off of our loveseats so they can jump on the springy loveseat base. I worry about them damaging the furniture, but really, it's just furniture. Why ruin my kids' fun time, their joy and creativity, over a temporal thing?

Thanks, Becky.