The China Cabinet (Shaped Through Change)

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"There is a time to keep, and a time to cast away…"  + Ecclesiastes 3:6

Tonight, I emptied our china cabinet.

We’re selling it on craigslist.  It doesn’t fit in our new house.  We bought it years ago at a garage sale for $200.  We are tearing down the wall where it rests.  For these reasons and more, it’s time.  No big deal.

Except, it feels big.

I read a great blog this week about getting rid of ‘a bag a day’ in Lent.  The blogger suggested clearing out unwanted and unused items daily as a spiritual practice.  We could all thin our possessions and simplify our lives.  It’s a good suggestion.  She said a piece of furniture could substitute for a bag too.  So today, I emptied that china cabinet and decided to let it go.

And yet, I can remember taking this china cabinet home.  It was my first piece of ‘grown-up’ furniture.  Finally, I graduated beyond put-it-together-yourself Ikea pieces or particleboard shelves from Target.  I imagined hand-me-downs from my grandmother on display in this hutch one day.

When we first set it up, I realized I had nothing to put in a china cabinet.  I decided to put hardcover books in it and a few precious little nothings from my travels behind the glass doors.

Years later, I can remember the excitement of filling up the shelves with our wedding china - finally feeling like we ‘arrived’ into our adulthood just because we had a few black and white saucers and heavy plates to our name.

This piece of furniture quietly leaned against the wall during so many big moments in our lives - almost like a silent witness to intimate conversations and boisterous gatherings in our dining room.  In fact, just this weekend, the china cabinet observed as 120 people from my church filled our home with joy and love during our open house.

Tonight, I’m remembering that we can be shaped by change - big and small.  Whether it’s the end of a long journey with a trusty china cabinet or moving across the country to a new climate and community, or a new job (all changes I’ve known a little about this year…), we are shaped in these changes.  And it can be a spiritual experience.

My prayer during this first week of Lent is that we all see the opportunity in change to draw nearer to what is eternal, holy, and constant.  

May God bless you as you navigate the changes you face today and in the days ahead.


A big SALT "thank you!" to Rev. Sarah Taylor Peck, Senior Minister of Community Christian Church in North Canton, OH.  She is a writer, preacher, and pastor extraordinaire!  And, a big thanks to Sea Turtle - this might not be your cup of tea, but it sure is ours!

Elizabeth MyerComment