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Cracked Window Panes

“Mommy, look! It fits me!” As my little girl’s hand sprang up at me the ring on her finger came flying off, hit the tile floor, and cracked the pretty pink stone on top. I knew it was an accident, but I was still upset. I couldn’t believe I had only gotten to wear the ring one time. It seemed like such a waste. I set it on my dresser and forgot about it…

Until today…

While listening to a Ted Talk from Dan Phillips about building his unique houses from reclaimed stuff, Dan shares a little bit  about the psychology of why there is so much waste involved in building. The result in part is something he says is buried in our DNA, our need for continuity.  He shares an example of what happens when the continuity is disrupted with this illustration:

“If we have a wall of window panes and one pane is cracked, we go, ‘Oh dear that’s cracked, let’s repair it, let’s take it out, throw it away so nobody can use it, and put a new one in.’ because that’s what you do with a cracked pane. Nevermind that it doesn’t affect our lives at all. It only rattles that expected pattern in unity of structural features.”

Right there listening to him talk about that cracked windowpane I thought of my ring. I bought it with a smooth pink stone. No cracks, no lines through the middle of it. Once that changed it was no longer good. My expectation of what the ring should look like was rattled and I didn’t want to wear it anymore. It wasn’t an expensive stone, the ring wasn’t made of sterling silver or gold. There was no reason to keep it. I typically would have thrown it away, but for some reason I didn’t.

As Dan Phillips talked about his houses made from reclaimed stuff he shared photos of his creations. I loved seeing those images of the houses he built. He took what was flawed and what would have been discarded and made something beautiful, something useful. I’m excited to wear my ring again now. It will remind me that what is flawed or imperfect doesn’t need to be discarded. If I change my expectations and look at something flawed and imagine and create, something even more beautiful may come from it.

If you have some time check out Dan Phillips’ Ted Talk and hear how he creates houses using from 70-80% recycled material. His talk is about 18 minutes. I’m curious to hear where you have found beauty and inspiration from recycling or repurposing an item that normally would have been thrown out.

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