A few days ago, I offered some thoughts about salvaging. More needs to be said….
As I suggested previously, salvaging is a kind of rescuing that also extends into other areas of life: Reshaping attitudes that are bent out of shape; fixing broken relationships; propping up wobbly social institutions; salving the deep emotional wounds of those who are dispirited or downtrodden—a people-saving stewardship. Victims of conflict need a second chance. Crushed spirits require care.
This talk about salvaging is more than word play. It feels like our nation is going to need salvaging. Large chunks of civil society are sustaining damage. For many of us, cushy materialistic lifestyles will be out of reach. It seems possible that our culture is approaching the time when salvaging will be a skill more valuable than surrounding ourselves with stuff.
To be honest, I’m not sure that salvaging is something I can easily welcome as part of my lifework or lifestyle. I’m used to new-and-improved, not old-and-repaired. Even though a salvager is a kind of steward—my favorite description of a mature Christian—I’m not skilled at mending or repurposing things back into usefulness. I’ll admit it: I’m part of the throwaway culture—if it’s broken, I get a new one.
To take on a salvager’s identity, I’ll need to shred and discard my pride. I’ll have to accept that salvaging is hard work. That it involves the risk of danger or harm. That failure and disregard may be part of this role. If I want to help rescue things—and even more importantly, people—I’ll need to reset my hopes towards what’s actually possible.
Even though salvaging is often difficult, I think it’s going to be necessary. It may even become a new way to describe my older adult vocation….