No, I’m not talking about searching for a rather tasty chocolate Easter bunny. I do like the chocolate although it’s disappointingly not yet fairly traded, but my topic today is rather more mundane. Lint – little bits of fluff or thread which get caught on other fabric, most specifically my rather dark blue carpet on my stairs and landing. The task of vacuuming these areas is quite a challenge, but one that is rather obviously necessary at times. I know my cat and I both shed a fair bit of hair, but some of the lint I have gathered is rather more unusual:
Living with a creative textile artist has dramatically increased the quality of lint which can be found throughout my flat, and all of the above has been collected over the last few weeks. The blue feather bit is from the fantastic fascinator she made me for my birthday wedding. There are some bits of dark brown fleece which she has washed and prepared for spinning. Some of the brightest colour pieces may be trimmings from a beautiful rag book which she made recently to celebrate a new baby.
My point is not to get at my housemate and her creative offcuts, but to consider how our actions influence what we leave behind. There are only such threads and snips of fabric on our carpet because she is using these materials in her work. Then we pick them up on our feet or clothes and move them around the house, and probably out of the house as well. The bits of paper lying around the coffee table are similarly representative of my interests and actions, with supermarket vouchers, a holiday booking confirmation, a restaurant receipt, some song lyrics and a letter confirming my recent full time job offer making up some of the recent additions.
If I try to think about what else I leave behind as I go, I hope that some international songs might be part of my legacy. I have taught these songs and learnt more in the international singing group I lead, which has recently included more children who have picked up the song Munezero, Munezero with particular gusto. I also taught a couple of songs to the group in Finland. While most of those who learnt the songs will have forgotten them by now, some may take the songs on and teach them to others, just as I have done.
Working as a lecturer makes you hope that you can pass on something useful to your students, not just in terms of factual information they might use in assignments and their future working lives. I hope some of my first year students in particular are learning more about how to learn, how to research and how to write essays. Building skills in self-reflection and learning to work with others are also habits I’d like to help impart. Sometimes I see the evidence in the essays I mark or the comments students make. Moving away from my own frontline work with children and families, my hope has to be that I will influence others to make a positive different through their own work.
As Christians we are called to be salt and light in the world, not to withdraw from the world. Salt might add flavour but more crucially was used to preserve meat and fish back in the days before refrigeration. A recent sermon at church challenged us to be willing to get really rubbed in to prevent the rot that is sometimes evident in our society. Offering light is also no small matter either – in fact probably something that deserves a whole blog post. I can’t discover who first asked the question: “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Do we drop threads of grace, leave behind scraps of love? May the fluff of encouragement stick to you and go with you today, to be spread liberally wherever you go 🙂