Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas rescue

Overheard this past week in the Laverman house:

Kevin: "Kaori, look at this great labelmaker I picked up for free."

Kaori: "Where'd you get it?"

Kevin: "It was just laying out on the garbage pile."

Kaori: "Garbage pile?!"

Kevin: "Someone just threw it away. I cleaned it up, put in fresh batteries, and it works fine! It even has a label cartridge in it. I wanted one like this."

Kaori: "You picked it up? In Japan, that's called STEALING."

Kevin: "From the garbage pile? To me that's called RESCUING!"

It's amazing the things that one finds disposed of in Japan. Japan's ultra-consumerism generates a lot of recyclable "garbage." Is something a little dirty, a little broken? Out to the garbage it goes! Japanese by in large don't have a repair-and-reuse mentality. A little cleaning, a little fix here or there, and a lot of money can be saved by the handy finder (it turns out I may have been "stealing").

I was broken and dirtied by sin. God had every right to throw me out onto the garbage pile. I am so glad that He chose to send his Son into this world to search, find, cleanup and re-use me. That was the ultimate RESCUE! (And I suppose in a way it was stealing...from Satan).

At Christmastime, thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming down into the garbage pile of this world to reclaim me for your own!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Small Thinking

We're back in Japan. Which explains why I keep bumping into things. After 6 weeks of being conditioned to the wide open spaces of life in America, we are back to working with the inches of urban Tokyo. My mind hasn't totally re-calibrated itself to the new spatial realities of this environment. I keep bumping into things...again...and again. Thankfully no damage has been done to people or vehicles. But heads, fingers, toes, and knees have gotten a little sore.

When we first arrived in the States in October, I suffered through the opposite syndrome. What to do with all this extra space! I could sit wide, or with legs outstretched. I could wander around large rooms and hear my echo. I could get out on either side of the car. I could always find parking. I could buy large size versions of things and find places to put them away. I COULD THINK BIG! Now I must relearn to think small. Small spaces. Turn, move, sit, park, walk about in a tight axis of centimeters.This will take a few days yet to get used to.

Perhaps the shortcut to relearning Japan spatial limitations is a trip to "Don Quixote," the big discount seller here in Japan. The store is crammed with stuff (and extremely noisy). Things are stacked precariously from floor to ceiling with only tiny aisles in between. It resembles the scene from a Dr. Seuss story. If it wasn't for my tightwad missionary nature, I wouldn't step foot in this place. As it worked out, my visit to the store today created a little extra work for the cleanup crew. I may be over jet lag, but spatial distance lag will take a few days more. And so, at least in Japan, it seems that thinking small is at least as important as thinking big.