Thursday, 05 January 2017 13:50

Transforming Throwaways

Written by  Sam Whatley
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I recently saw an exhibit called “Transformart” at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibit is expansive. As you enter the three-room panorama of tropical animals and plants you hear the sounds of a waterfall and birds chattering. The centerpiece is a twenty-five-foot tree made from clothes. As you look around, you see that everything is created from items that most of us discard. There is a life-like sheep of computer cables and a giant bird of shoe laces. The neck and head of a giraffe made of broken pencils protrudes from the wall above you. Perhaps the most startling creatures of all are the animals created from hundreds of empty ammunition shells.


The fox is a mixture of shotgun shells. The rabbits, bear and jaguar are formed from bullets. The creator of these works is Frederico Uribe, an American originally from Columbia. He grew up in a country at war. He is transforming not only everyday items, but symbols of violence, into articles of beauty and life. Thus, the term “Transformart”.


That is what struck me. He saw in these common materials the potential to express the order, mystery, and symmetry of nature. He re-created thousands of worthless parts into this artistic vision of a peaceful, natural world.


And that made me think about my life and the lives of those I know.


How easy it is for our tragedies and mistakes in life to become regrettable memories we choose to throw away. We wish they had never happened. Now that we have lived passed them, we just want to forget them, and move on. But we can’t really forget them. They happened.


Our throwaway experiences run the spectrum from minor hurts to major catastrophes. For some, it is a failure at school. Friendships that once were, but are no longer, can haunt us for years. Some remember businesses that failed, or their church that finally closed its doors. Some people are trying to get over a broken heart, or even worse, a broken home. Some are grieving the cost of addiction or the memory of a loved one they never expected to outlive. Then there are the actual wounds of war and the trauma of physical abuse.


Some of our hurts and failures are accidents, no one’s fault. But many are the results of someone’s intentional disobedience to God. At times, we are victims of someone else’s sin. And sometimes they are the victims of ours. All of us knew better. We knew there would be consequences, but we had to do things our way. And now the bill is due and we wish we could forget it. We cannot see any good that can come from remembering. We want to throw it all in the trash and walk away.


But that is where God’s transformation, or re-creation, can make all the difference. That trash does not have to be trash forever. It can be redeemed by the Redeemer.


The Apostle Paul says in his second letter to the Corinthians: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  (II Corinthians 5:17, NIV).


God does not put the toothpaste back in the tube. But he can find a use for that toothpaste in the future. He can use all things to His glory and to our good, if we will let Him.


Paul writes to the Ephesians: Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its… desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and … put on your new self, created to be like God (Ephesians 4:22-23, NIV).


When you share your life with Christ, you share it with others, as well. Sometimes the things you share are your scars and failures. God redeems your trash by making it a way for you to connect with other hurting souls. They need transformation too.


As Paul wrote to the Romans, Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2, NIV).


Give God what hurts you and watch Him transform it into something beautiful for His Kingdom.



Last modified on Thursday, 05 January 2017 14:07
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