make do & mend


For some time now our curtains in the sitting room have been embarrassingly saggy, hanging in a lop-sided and disheveled way. One of those things that has been niggling and annoying but every time we’ve looked at them it’s felt like a huge job so we’ve put off doing anything about it.

Last week though Andrew came home with new curtain poles and reminded me that he’d already made sure we had new curtain tape! So I guess I wasn’t surprised when he woke up this morning ‘eager’ to sort these curtains out on his day off… I on the other hand was rather reluctant!

Its been a long, tiring week. Challenging behaviour, lots of extras to the usual week’s work, Andrew was away at the beginning of the week, and of course there was a dentist appointment thrown in for good measure – there just had to be, it was that kind of week. I woke up simply beyond tired, a fiddly job like sewing new curtain tape onto 2 sets of curtains was probably the last thing I wanted to do!! I did get some rest time this morning after the school run – but then the job began. You know when you are going about things really slowly, stopping and starting, complaining inside, already imagining the absolute worst outcome & already regretting the time and energy I hadn’t yet invested in this make do & mend job…. well that was me…

why am I doing this?

I don’t want to do it right now.

I’m no good at this anyway, it’s going to look awful.

I haven’t got the energy for this today.

The curtain tape will probably run out half way.

Goodness these curtains are so old, I’m not convinced new tape will revive them.

Oh help, here goes with the scissors. Hope I don’t wreck them. I’m bound to make a mess of this.

We didn’t even buy them for this room, one set isn’t even the right size, no wonder they look so tatty.

Why can’t we just buy new ones??

Truth is we could of course have spent a lovely day choosing new curtains. We’d have both enjoyed that together, and we may even have found something that would have looked great in our sitting room (these are fine, but I don’t think either of us look at them with any sense of ‘wow, I love those in here’, they’re functional.), and sometimes for other things we do choose to buy new. But with these curtains we wanted to stick with the make do & mend principle, there’s potentially a lot of life left in them (assuming I didn’t make such a mess of the job in hand that is!). It matters to both of us that we weigh up even seemingly little decisions and get a balance we are content with between buying new and trying to make things last. There’s no escaping the knowledge that what we do with our ‘stuff’, and what we do with the ‘waste’ that we produce as a family has a much bigger impact on the earth, and it’s people than we can get our head around.  I wonder also if those actions and decisions we make about our ‘stuff’ have a bigger impact on our hearts and well-being than we can get our head around either.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it..

(Ps 24:1 NIV)

Caring for the earth, and the people in it – all loved, cherished & delighted in by God matters to us as a family. And that inevitably means that the little things, the make do & mend curtain jobs matter. But I needed encouragement today, and the accountability of my Andrew to face the job that seemed huge in the midst of tiredness. It was a small thing, an everyday, family life, mundane thing but it reminded me that discipleship is the long haul and often it means pushing through in those inner battles about taking the easier, more comfortable and convenient way.

You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.

(1 Cor 9:25 MSG)

With Andrew’s encouragement and help the job was done… the curtains back up, and yes they do look better, and no I didn’t wreck them, and yes they’ll be great in the sitting room for quite some time to come! So we didn’t need to buy new this time. That’s resources saved, potential waste reduced, and so I trust that’s God’s earth and God’s people impacted for good in some unseen way through our make do & mend curtains. I also trust it’s another small victory in the everyday life of this (very often tired) disciple, a reminder to keep at it and to keep on recognizing that with God all the small things count!


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