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Will It Hold?

The tape, the glue, the string, the bungy cord, the Velcro, the thread, the cement, the trampoline, the duct tape, the Bondo, the calk, the friendship, the faith, the love. Stuff that is designed to hold things… and people… together. But with the passing of time, there’s stress and strain, wind and rain, suffering and pain, and what is intended to hold fails. Nothing lasts forever, we say.

Oh, guarantees are offered, promises made. “Good for five years,” the advertising asserts. “A two-year warranty or your money back,” the packaging proclaims. “Withstands temperatures below freezing,” the commercial crows. “I’ll never stop loving you” one offers to another. “Pinky swear!” they declare as best friends boldly bond. Products. Persons. Promises. Will they hold? Is anything or anyone completely count-on-able?

Some people approach possessions and personal relationships with a fix-it mentality. If it’s at all salvageable, get it repaired! Preserve the initial investment. Add a little sweat equity. Try counseling and make a go of what you’ve got. Storage sheds shudder and repair services rejoice. Others view it all from a replace it mindset. Just buy a new one! Stimulate the economy. Keep the manufacturers in business. If it’s over, move on. Landfills languish and eBay expands. Everything has a season, we say.

Is there anything that lasts and anyone who holds on through the storms we suffer? We like to think that it is love that endures, that maintains, that holds on. But the flipside of sturdy love is often deep pain. A dear friend’s betrayal hurts more than the careless words of a casual acquaintance. The crazy-making choices of a child cause more alarm than the headline-making happenings of celebrities. The criticism of a church member cuts deeper than the correction of a yoga instructor. It’s devastating when what we believed was durable doesn’t hold, when we are no longer held.

Does anything last? Is anyone count-on-able? As seasons come and go, and we invest in purchases and persons, will the promises hold? Kate Bowler, in her recent book of reflections titled Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day, encourages all who feel splintered and shattered to abandon polite prayers. The words she writes and prays are raw: “It took painstaking efforts to build this life, these years, this day – the one being ripped, plank by plank, to the studs… God, give me back today. Shelter me, help me, save me. Hold my life together while the storms are raging on.” Will God? We get no glamorous guarantees. Just a personal pledge: “You will be my most precious possession…”

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