In a past life, when I was a director of operations in corporate America, one of the questions I always had to ask myself, when considering disciplinary action for an employee was: Is he redeemable? If so, I would work with his manager to create an action plan of improvement and accountability. If not, well…
Now, back it up several decades. When I was a kid (some time before the Civil War 😉 ) life wasn’t quite as convenient as it is today. This was before email, personal computers, microwave ovens, etc. While I didn’t grow up in poverty, my family was not by any stretch of the imagination wealthy. I got lots of hand-me-downs, didn’t have the latest toys, clothing, etc., and if anything I had broke, guess what? We didn’t just throw it away and replace it. We mended it.
To that end, there were many patches sewn on my pants, lots of goopy glue used to seal the lips of my talking sneakers, and toys that were dented, dismembered, or otherwise maimed were regarded with special honor, their injuries like battle-scars.
Flash forward nearly half a century later: My kids have things that if they’d traveled back in time and shown us back then, would have violated Star Trek’s Starfleet General Order 1, or The “Prime Directive.” Kids these days have 3D handheld game consoles, app loaded iPads and smartphones (not my kids, not yet), toys and gadgets that would make our heads spin back in the 70s. Along with such advanced technology, they have instant access to information (the internet vs. the Dewey Decimal System), communication (mailing a letter to grandma vs. video chatting on Skype), and multimedia production (color printers for their school projects vs. crayons and pencils).
We’re now able to produce things so quickly, and so efficiently that for products such as inkjet printers by EPSON, Cannon, or HP, it’s gotten to the point that it’s less expensive to buy a new color printer, than to get a couple of refills of color ink. But what is lost in all this advancement? Could it be the appreciation of long-term value? Do we look for instant replacement when something is broken or defective?
Let me give you an example from my son’s hobby RC Model Airplanes/Jets. I have helped my son build, fly, and yes, even crash several planes and jets in the past year. Some of them seemed damaged beyond repair. They’re not incredibly expensive to the point of being irreplaceable, but they are not so inexpensive so as to replace them as though they were an old toothbrush. So when we crashed our planes, we decided to see what would happen if we at least tried to repair them.
With some persistence, we got this damaged plane repaired.
But would it fly?
Turns out, it flew even better, and my son learned more about its flight characteristics and what it was capable of.
So here is the our latest crashed jet, an F-22. Can it be repaired? Will it ever fly again?
All this got me thinking: What would my son have missed out on if we’d simply tossed his broken plane and replaced it with a new one? He’d not have learned the character of patience, nor would he have learned the value of redeeming rather than replacing. In our society today, too often we discard and replace broken things, and even relationships.
When couples have ‘lost that loving feeling’ too many choose divorce, rather than working on repairing and redeeming.
Even if we’re not in a relationship, we might have given up on ourselves. In my book TERMINUS, there are three characters whose lives are so shattered they seem beyond redemption: Hope Matheson–a tormented suicidal woman, Jonathan Hartwell–a fallen preacher, and Carlito Guzman–a lethal cartel leader. It almost seems better for the world if they just followed their self-destructive paths. But who knows what redemptive value they might display if given the chance?
I am thankful that God doesn’t have a toss-away attitude towards me, because I’ve been (and still am, to some degree) pretty broken and defective as a human being. No, He has a redeeming love for all His children, one that lovingly pieces me back together so that despite my scars, bent fuselage, and cracked wings, I can fly better than before.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. –Isaiah 40:31
Do you have anything that your glad you’ve redeemed, repaired or restored, rather than discard?
Joshua Graham is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, winner of the International Book Award and Forward National Literature Award. His thrillers include DARKROOM, LATENT IMAGE and BEYOND JUSTICE, and TERMINUS. Graham's works have been characterized as thought-provoking page-turners.
Legal Notice: All information on this website and blog are from Mr. Graham's personal experience and insight and should not be viewed in any way, directly or inferred, as qualified professional advice.
All creative writing on this website or Mr. Graham's books: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. (novels, short stories)