Eric's Sunday Sermon; Hand Me Downs
Is the earth just one big hand me down?
There are some friends that I know quite well. Some I grew up with and some that I have known for over 35 years. This subject of hand me downs rarely comes up. For some reason, I suppose pride driven it is just not a manly man concept. And of course there are many who just would think the matter strange. And that he would be horrible to have clothes that you wear already having been worn by another. Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be, there is just no judgment to be passed however someone feels about it.
Let us assume there is a social stigma that is negative about families too poor to provide new clothing for their children. We should even try to respect that position. Or perhaps also a situation where the family was well enough off but stingy. And we cannot ignore that in some families some kids get new stuff and others do not. Parents are not perfect and children may need to be treated differently.
Before we go into the matter of social opinion of hand me downs, let us take a break and consider a very great saying for us tree hugging, naturalist environmentalists. “Only use what you must and then reuse it and then recycle it” Pretty good new age progressive environmentally responsible and it works to conserve our earth’s resources. “use, reuse, recycle”. I hope in this day and age we have respect for those folks who do their best to practice those principles. Hopefully that sheds some new light on hand me downs. Maybe we do not need to buy new just because we can afford to. Maybe the receiver of a hand me down should now stand tall and proud that he is helping us create a better less consumption oriented world.
Just rags, but put together with love is a prize!
Oh the grandeur of life.
What is salvageable? Are you?
To get a little personal here I can relate my experience. I was extremely fortunate to be adopted into a large love family. I was number six of six. I wore a whole lot of hand me downs. And here is a little twist to how I viewed it. “Cool this is my big brothers and now I get it”. You see hand me downs are not destroyed ripped clothes, generally. Hand me downs are simply before being worn out the elder siblings have just grown out of it. Although in my age we also sewed ripped clothes. My wife was just amazed when I sat down with spectacles and stitched a piece of clothing.
One time my big brother and I conspired to get mom to buy him shoes that were already too small. What he got were new shoes, one right after another and I got nearly brand new shoes. Doggone it, I had stopped a growing spree, and so I still had to wait a year to use the shoes. Oh well, boys scheme and moms laugh. And I do think my mom did too. Here is a fun one. Back in my day growing up we had Levi jeans. I think maybe there were Wrangler’s also, came in basically two styles, grownups and children’s. So I would even get hand me downs from my 3 older sisters. Jackets and “go to church” clothes were almost always like brand new as they were used so infrequently. Fancy shorts were just not looked at the same as today and men seldom wore them. So any jeans ripped at the knees were cut off and a rope belt would make any size fit all.
The land I grew up on during the summers may dad named “La Casa Salvado”. My dad’s Jesuit background and med school and proximity and our cultural ties with Mexicans created a strange type what I call Lanish. Like Spanglish only with Latin as opposed to English. I mention this for 3 reasons. The translation of Salvado does not fit with the noun Casa. It was a pun. You could figure it to mean a house of salvage or a house of salvation. This was largely due to two things in my father’s way of thinking. Land was kept natural for 90%. And the cabin my dad built was built nearly entirely from salvaged things.
Bomb crates. During WWII bombs were crated in very sturdy wooden rectangular boxes. Near our home there was a place called Navajo Army Depot. This was where bombs were crated up for shipment overseas. The location was kind of remote, but near to two different sawmills. They needed a lot of lumber to crate up over a million bombs. Well when the war was over there were thousands and thousands of the crates for salvage. My father had this great idea that if you stacked the boxes just right they would make for perfect walls for a house, sturdier even that conventional framing. My grandpa was enlisted. He had been a carpenter for wooden things just like this during the war. He was a master carpenter. So he and my father built a large cabin doing just that, stacking these boxes. The walls are twenty feet high. The cabin is now well over fifty years old and still standing straight.
I will never forget my father telling me that my hand me downs were just like our home. Wow that made me proud.
For sure I am crazy, but I think raindrops are hand me downs from heaven.
A Piute Native American handed this down.
Please receive the hand me downs with gratefulness.
Passed down from generation to generation. Now my young son has no one to hand his clothes down to. They are washed, folded and sorted. Then they are gratefully brought to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) for donation.
When we speak of hand me downs our mind goes straight to clothing. Should it be so restrictive? It really comes from the concept to hand down. I was really not handed down religion. In my earlier years I attended. By middle school it was all my choice. I joined youth groups and I attended religious stuff. And this continued into college. My mother totally drifted away from religion. All my siblings are non-religious. Of all six of us we are spiritual in our own ways. But I was handed down something far more important than religion. I was handed down the gift to spend the time to figure out what I believe and why. To listen and try to understand different views, thoughts and beliefs.
Is the greatest hand me down of all a legacy of caring? Not just caring for someone or something. But rather careful in thought, word and deed. Full of care. Perhaps the greatest hand me down that ever was, was Christ’s legacy. Oh some may jump to support or dislike a “Christian Religion” legacy. But for me that was not what was handed down. Yes my mom and dad handed down to us children and grandchildren that old salvage cabin. And sometimes I slip up and think of that as the real hand me down. But the true gift of a hand me down can only be the gratitude of receiving it.
If we can hand down to others in such a way and spirit that causes them gratefulness in heart then they can learn to hand down to others that same gratitude. It is not only the thing that is handed down, at least I hope not. I would hope that gratefulness and caring are the greatest hand me downs of all. I pray to my Lord that I hand down to my children some of that that resides in the heart and if I am the most blessed man on earth perhaps they can be grateful for it and hand it on down.