A tall slender body, far too fragile to carry the weight of such a large head! You may well be wondering whom I am talking about! I would have you know I have in mind, and close to my heart, NOT A ‘WHO’ but ‘A WHAT!’ In fact, my beloved standard fan…which has keep me just short of melting-point during the hot weather Barbados has been experiencing recently. At the touch of a button it has played refreshing, cool air upon my heat-weary body. Imagine my grief, then, when I learnt that in the process of having a thorough cleaning the long stem had snapped away from the hefty base. There were those around me who offered the consoling words that I should not mourn too much. It would not cost a great deal to purchase another, possibly stronger, fan. They simply could not understand my deep attachment to this particular fan that had served me so well. Nor did they understand my deep instinct to throw away broken things only when they are totally beyond repair. My fan was a casualty...not a corpse.....it still worked perfectly! First step in setting it on its feet again was to insert a length of broom-stick into the hollow of the base and into the shaft that supported the fan. Then I applied fast-drying, extra-strong, glue to the surfaces of the breakage. Around these I wrapped a collar of duct-tape. Last of all I invoked my experience of many years of scouting. Guy-lines pegged into the ground will keep a flag-pole firmly upright. Strong nylon twine passing under the base then way up to, and round the stem, served the same purpose. My only concern was how to stop the fan swaying. It was an all-purpose store that held the answer to my problem. There before my eyes were stretchable luggage- straps with hooks at each end! These would provide the tension that would keep my fan rigid. All I had to do was hook the straps under the base and then attach them firmly around the stem. (Easier said than done!) Though my restored fan does carry the scars of wounds endured in the reality of a harsh, rough world, never would I apologize for it appearing somewhat scruffy…just like me! Lovingly had I spent many hours contriving to spare it from the rubbish skip. This brings me to sharing with you that I will have no part in the throw-away mentality that regards anything that is damaged as being disposable. Nor do I identify with those of the view that if the cash is available then what is damaged can be replaced by what is brand-new. For me there has never been money for me to splash around carelessly and irresponsibly. Dare I say that I gain my inspiration from this passage of Sacred Scripture, Jer. 18.“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord as follows, 2 'Get up and make your way down to the potter's house, and there I shall tell you what I have to say.' 3 So I went down to the potter's house; and there he was, working at the wheel. 4 But the vessel he was making came out wrong, as may happen with clay when a potter is at work. So he began again and shaped it into another vessel, as he thought fit. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me as follows, 6 'House of Israel, can I not do to you what this potter does? The Lord demands. Yes, like clay in the potter's hand, so you are in mine, House of Israel. ”I like to think that God must feel very pleased with Himself when He’s managed to restore wholesomeness to someone who’s made a wreck of his life. What a joy it can be for any one of us if we have helped someone to put his life together again! If my broken fan had a voice I’m certain it would have given me a heart-felt cheer!
Peter Clarke, OP