It’s no secret we live in a disposable world. There’s not much we cannot replace with something newer and better. Disposable plates, napkins, utensils, serving trays, and cups are used every day. Disposable diapers, bottles, gloves, and hygiene items are made by the millions. Cheaply made cars built only to last a few years have been experimented with, remember the Yugo? I have to ask myself, in such a disposable world, how disposable am I?
Early on in life, we learn that pretty much everything can be replaced. A broken doll, a rusty bicycle, tattered socks. Sometimes it hurt to lose the original item, but that pain was soon erased by the excitement of a newer one, maybe even a little fancier. But then, we learn that friends can also be replaced. Your best friend in first grade moves across the country, never to be seen again. Then a new kid moves to town and the old friend’s memories begin to fade. The dog you grew up with ages and dies, leaving a world of hurt and emptiness, but your parents say not to worry, they will replace the old Fido with a new puppy. And they do, and soon the pain begins to lessen as the bond between you and puppy grows.
As a teenager, a boyfriend replaced me with someone who would have sex with him. As a wife, I was replaced with someone skinnier and blonde.
A few years ago, my boss told me that I could always be replaced in my job. He was right, but I wanted to think I offered something special as an employee that no one else did. I felt valuable, even if I wasn’t. I didn’t like to think I was that disposable.
How many husbands and wives have you known that were replaced through divorce? How many foster kids have gotten shuffled from family to family? How many pets are in animal shelters because their owners thought a different pet would suit them better? How many employees have quit their jobs in pursuit of one better? How many employers have fired employees in the pursuit of one better?
I know I am disposable. I know every day I go to work that I can be fired on a whim just because someone doesn’t like me, or they don’t like the disorganization of my desk, or the Christmas tree in my office. I know I can be replaced in every Committee or team that I serve. I know there is no one standing in the sidelines waiting to rescue me or to stand up for me. I can be replaced in a heartbeat, and it feels kind of lonely.
I’d like to think my pets would miss me. But the truth is, they would probably only miss me for a while, until someone else took over my roll as parent and caregiver and friend. There is no “significant other” in my life who would miss me or feel I could not be replaced. There is no family who would miss seeing me. There is no need to replace someone who is already missing.
I cannot say I like knowing just how replaceable I am. But in truth, I’ve done nothing in my life to make myself irreplaceable. I’ve done nothing extraordinary. Nothing unique. I’m not lovable. I’m not beautiful, to be admired. I’ve not devoted the time to cultivate relationships to a deeper level, always distancing myself before that closer bond develops. Yes, I am replaceable.
And yet….as replaceable as I am in this world, I know I am worthy of God’s love and grace. I know that Jesus died on that cross to save me from my sins. And I know God will never leave me nor foresake me. His love makes me feel valuable, worthy, and a little less disposable.
Take care of you….