Tuesday, August 24, 2010
A Simple Story of Redemption
Katy began a great discussion with her post about what redemption looks like in fiction. Please bear with me as I share a simple story of redemption on a different level.
Years ago when I was newly engaged, I went shopping with my future mother-in-law to a Green Stamp Redemption Center. She had books filled with reams of stamps that she had dampened and stuck carefully onto the pages. The stamps had been earned at the grocery store, the gas station and other businesses with the 'We give Green Stamps' sign in the window.
Being the saintly woman that she was (and I'm being sincere), she handed me a bundle and told me to pick out something for myself. There were many useful and practical items on display and I spent a long time choosing. Then I saw the bean pot! I could never explain why it appealed to me so strongly, except that it was painted in homey colors with a rooster on the front and it was autumn, after all. I took my choice to the counter to show her and was met with puzzlement. "A bean pot? Well it's...nice." The toasters and electric knives and baking dishes would have been more practical choices, and I realized that I'd passed up an opportunity to show my practicality as a wife for her son. But if Alice was anything, she was gracious.
My bean pot now sits high on a shelf in my kitchen among other retro kitchen-ware. And while shopping one day for '40s dish towels, tablecloths, canisters and pitchers, I came across the same bean pot with a surprising price tag. It turns out that my bean pot is a McCoy and worth more than just sentimental value. It was probably the best choice I could have made. Did I recognize the value in it? Yes, but not as others saw it.
I have a character swimming around in my brain, wading in the gray matter, who is just a bean pot. She is not very heroic, attractive or practical. She doesn't have her life together or truly understand God's love for her. She's made mistakes - some with lasting consequences. But she's likable, I think, in that she stumbles toward redemption trying to make it happen for herself without realizing the cost involved or the futility in her striving. I'm loving that I get to show her how much God wants to redeem her and her situation. Her life won't miraculously blossom - her slate won't be wiped clean - but she will find that her worth is much greater than she knew, greater than the way she lived her life. And she will marvel at the One who recognized her worth in spite of the condemnation she deserved.
From the great host of characters who find redemption in literature, which stands out to you most? We would love to hear!