I’ve long considered my vocation a call to the field of recycling, restoration, repurposing. I recognize this in myself, because I, too, have been recycled, restored and repurposed.
Once crushed and seriously depressed from a cluster of losses, I had companions who made it their job to accompany me into wholeness. Behold, I was (and still am becoming) something new!
From a pragmatic standpoint, I love to experience reusing things with a purpose. I especially value a mindset that breaks through our throw-away disposable compulsion: the throwing away of people, resources, ideas and creation like garbage.
A few years ago, I worked at a YMCA camp. Over the July 4 holiday, the entire facility was rented out by an international group from Toronto.
350 Hindu youth and adults were gathered around campfires where we had been making s’mores all summer.
Instead, they were gathering around curry pots. The smells of chocolate and gooey marshmallows had been transformed to the scent of Indian spices amidst the pines that I will never forget. A truly visceral, scintillating change.
I left that work day with a reimagined sense of space and with a new recipe from an 80-year-old who spoke no English but could tell how much I was enjoying their presence.
S’mores to curry. Depression to resilience. Suffering to recovery. Old ways to new. Recycling, repurposing, restoration, deep change looks different for different folks at different times for different reasons.
Honestly, I wouldn’t want any other kind of work, call, vocation or laboring. This is indeed how the new is born. New me, new you, new us.
Gwyn Stetler is a community minister and executive director at Family Promise of Delaware County.