Notes from Jan

Mending Ways

November 14, 2022

Duty called but I resisted. Finally, I gave in, headed to the garage to sort through some boxes. The garage needed to be cleared for its original purpose, a place to park a car in winter. Lily’s. Mine prefers the outdoors. Truthfully, I never gave it a choice. So, since ice coated the deck table this morning, I figured winter’s sending hints. Besides, the folding table in the garage, which I use for sorting, must come home. I need it for extra seating at Thanksgiving. The squeeze is on.

As for duty calling, most of the time I answer. But when it comes to paperwork or tending sentimental stuff, I resist because I remember. I get stuck sometimes when sorting. A few lines from an old letter, a photo or, in this case, a small glass jar, captures my attention. I get distracted.

Well, it was a familiar Gerber baby food jar. Blue lid and all. It was tucked in a box of Mama’s cards, letters, and stuff ‘n’ such. I thought all those boxes were emptied long ago. But I keep learning that people, stuff, and memories show up for a reason. Like this jar, a reminder I come from a long line of menders.

Mama darned socks,too. This baby food jar held buttons, pins, a thimble and memories. I rarely mend, anymore. Now and then I still secure a button or tack up a hem. Mending takes time. It also extends life to garments, socks and, even better, relationships.

Take, for example, the mid-term election. It feels like some mending’s happening. Or as David Brooks wrote, “the fever broke.” Time will tell. But it seems like the scales are tipping towards middle ground, a place for more civil conversations and respectful behavior. We need mending in our families, churches and country. The Bible says there’s, ” a time to mend…” ( from Ecclesiastes 3:7, NLT) And probably because I live in New England, Robert Frost’s Mending Wall, came to mind.

It’s not hard to picture Frost walking with his neighbor in springtime, surveying winter’s damage to stone walls. Probably the most memorable line is from the neighbor. “Good fences make good neighbors.”

But I prefer Frost’s musing.

“Before I build a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offense,

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

That wants it down.”

Well, there’s plenty to tend, mend and tear down. But we’re in Good hands. We come from a long line of holy menders. All the way back to Genesis when God made garments for Adam and Eve. God ‘s still loving, tending and mending. So take courage and a deep breath of hope.

After all, Thanksgiving’s just around the corner. Perfect timing. One special day to focus on all we have, not what we lack. An opportunity to mend our ways with family and friends. And to be Grace, not just say a grace.

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  • Reply Wendy November 15, 2022 at 6:24 am

    What a beautiful story woven from memories of mending. Culminating with hope, thankfulness and grace. ❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 15, 2022 at 11:23 am

      We all need mending, hope and Grace, dear Wendy. You and Steve are good at dispensing all three.

      • Reply Wendy November 15, 2022 at 8:05 pm

        We learned it from the best!

  • Reply Dale November 15, 2022 at 7:12 am

    Thanks Jan, this was subtle but profound. Our pastor did a series “Firepits and Not Fences” which aligned well with your encouragement. Grace is a gift and not a barrier. Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 15, 2022 at 11:34 am

      And, you and Marty, know well the role of Grace to mend and heal relationships, in work, family, as well as through Young Life, Community Bible Study, teaching Sunday School and the ministry of music. (Marty’s gift of music.,NOT yours) But, when it comes to humor, the Oscar goes to you, as well as the eye rolls. As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m so grateful for our friendship. May whoever gathers with you at Thanksgiving be blessed with heaping seconds of laughter and grace.

  • Reply Toni Lovingood November 15, 2022 at 11:14 am

    Oh Jan,
    How I loved this. How I see within my own family how one is no longer welcome at the table because he went down the road of drug addiction which led to jail. Though he has been clean for almost a year he is shunned as though he has a scarlet letter on his chest. “There but for the grace of God go I” said D.L. Moody. My love for my family is unconditional. We have all messed up. The sins of some are just more visible to the public. We all needed a Saviour to mend us.
    I hope these Notes from Jan will be your next book. They are treasures.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 15, 2022 at 11:37 am

      Oh, dear Toni, you are wise to remind us that we all need mending. Some just show more visible wounds and rips. And thank you for your encouragement about these blog posts. You blessed me! Jesus loves your tender heart. May your family find room for the one who most needs welcoming grace.

  • Reply Maggie Wallem Rowe November 15, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    Jan, you are an expert seamstress when it comes to mending with words. And I, a grateful recipient.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 16, 2022 at 9:25 am

      Thank you, dear Maggie. And you, likewise, mend and tend through your books and speaking. You bless many.
      Count me twice.

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