Love at First…Stench?

Living just three blocks from Cambridge Elementary School, I began to make the Big Walk all by myself in the first grade. Strapping on my velcro sneakers, I would trot past the nursing home where my dad worked. It was there that I first laid eyes on them: The Dumpsters. It was love at first sight. The way I gazed upon the rotting stench was as if I had discovered a buried treasure. Every day my heart would beat faster and faster, my pace slower and slower until one day – I stopped. My backpack fell to the ground. I stood there, pink barrette slipping out of my brown bob (as it always did at the end of a hard day of elementary education). My hand trembled as it took hold of an old lightbulb. I slipped it into my bag, skipping excitedly home.

The next day, same thing…this time my tiny hand grasped a mess of old colorful wires. As time went on, I got a cardboard box, handfuls of screws, and sheet metal scraps to name a few. Dumster diving quickly became a routine as I walked home from school. The thrill launched wild butterflies in my tummy; I had big dreams for my treasures! My plan? To create…a robot!

I laugh at that blast from the past now…but the funny thing is, not much has changed. Several weeks ago I was following my friend, Jill to her pumpkin patch in my trusty white wagon. (Did I say trusty? I meant rusty) Her tail lights faded as I screeched to a halt. A free rocking chair on the side of the road had caught my eye. Its less than perfect appearance offered that same boom boom in my heart. Moments later I heard chuckling behind me. My butt wiggled high in the air, the rest of me buried in the car, pushing, pulling, and prodding that rocking chair in. My head popped out, only to find Jill in her truck right behind me. We errupted into laughter at how ridiculous we both knew I looked. I’m a dumpster diver. I’ll take the old, the crusty, the broken, and the unwanted over new and polished any day. My heart craves it…it craves to fix the broken!

I wonder about this. I wonder not about robots and rockers, but about hearts and souls. Sometimes, I forget that being broken is the goal. I forget that we are better off being broken than being fixed. I believe that. I don’t think American Christians are testimony to that. I think we are fooled into thinking its better to be fixed than broken. I know I do. But, with one eye keeping watch on the road ahead, I’m trying to keep one eye on history (this makes for some really weird googly-eyed looks). You know, the history of the people God used: the broken ones. Moses with his speech impediment preaching to Pharoah. Gideon’s puny army of 300 kicking butt against thousands. Sarah, the barren 90 year old woman carrying a promised child. Peter (oh, Peter!) founding the church. The broken ones.

Its okay to be broken. No, no…its more than that. Its best to be broken. Its best to not be the best. Its absolutely important to be in need. Its urgent that we struggle. It is vital that we fail. It is crucial that we are flawed. I think this gives God butterflies. I think what gives Him the most pleasure is a good, old fashioned Dumster Dive…straight to the stench of our souls.

His heart craves it…it craves to fix the broken.

4 comments On Love at First…Stench?

  • Jenni,

    This has to be the most meaningful, well written blog post that I have read in recent weeks! Thank you so much! You teach me with a wisdom that is “beyond your years.” I am just dreaming about the day when you are a “famous” devotional writer and I can say, “I knew her when she was just a young dumpster-diver!”


  • Jenni, I agree with Barb. You have SO much wisdom!!! p.s. thanks for the compliments!

  • I love you.
    I love how you think
    I love how youy write
    I love how you write what you think

    seriously…who in the world can make DUMPSTER DIVING holy??@ =)

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