The Green Machine

Is it just me, or does it seem that everyone is becoming obsessed with being “green”? You know what I mean. Everyone recycles. Everyone uses chemical-free pesticides. Everyone eats tofu. Save our planet and all that.

And though I’m all in favor of saving our planet, I’m often the last one to jump on any wagon. Call it my stubborn nature, or laziness, or whatever you want. The truth is, I’m just forgetful.


I want to remember to throw my soda cans into the special blue plastic box. But I forget and put them in the regular trash, and by the time I remember, the can is beneath yesterday’s leftover peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and this morning’s coffee grounds. And sometimes, praying for forgiveness is just easier than digging to the bottom of the trashbag. And a whole lot cleaner, too.

So, my friends, now you know the truth. I’m not always as “green” as I should be. The earth is going to pot, and it’s probably my fault.

That’s why I was so thrilled when I recently had a great recycling opportunity. It seems that my daughter’s camp will have theme days. As in, dress up to fit the theme. And one day the theme is, “Finding Your Place in the Past.” Yep. That means dressing in really old fashions.

And it just so happens that I have a poodle skirt. Now stop trying to figure out my age! I’m not that old. But in 1980, I was in a musical. And the musical was set in the 1950’s.

I knew that thing was in the attic somewhere, so Mark and I went poking around up there, trying to find it. Of course, after opening nearly every box and hefting every overstuffed suitcase, we found it. Along with my teal prom dress and a pink southern-belle Scarlett O’Hara creation that is comical now, but that made me feel like a princess back when I actually wore it.

We hauled the loot out of the attic, and my daughter tried on every item, modeling them for us. Amazingly, they fit her. Man, I forgot how skinny I was.

All this to tell you that, yes, I am a recycler. I recycled a poodle skirt from 1980, which was made from a recycled fashion from the 1950’s. And the recycling doesn’t stop there.

She needed a petticoat. I went to Goodwill to buy an old prom dress and rip the petticoat out of it. (You didn’t think I’d actually rip the one from my own Scarlett O’Hara dress, did you?) But there was nothing floofy enough. (Is floofy a word?)

So instead, I bought a little slip for $1.99. Then I went to Wal-Mart and spent another $1.68 on netting. And with a little snipping and sewing, she had herself a petticoat. A really, really floofy one. Now that, my friends, is what recycling is all about.

You can just call me the Green Machine.

As I was working on that petticoat, I recalled some other things that have been recycled through the years. Things that have been passed on to me from my parents, and their parents before them, and back and back to long before I can trace my family lineage. And I had to smile.

You see, I am blessed to have parents who taught me good things, things like honesty and integrity and the value of hard work. Things like kindness and generosity and compassion. Things like faith in a God who loves me more than life itself.

Some may think those values are old, recycled ideals from yesteryear. But I’ve learned that the value of such lessons never decreases. Each time they are passed on to another generation, they become new again, like a breath of fresh air. And isn’t that what recycling is all about? Bringing the value of something old, and creating something new and fresh?

I’m so grateful to have had lessons of love and faith passed onto me. And I pray that, as my daughter wears her recycled poodle skirt, she’ll carry those lessons with her, too.

Deuteronomy 4:9 “Be very careful. Don’t forget the things your eyes have seen. As long as you live, don’t let them slip from your mind. Teach them to your children and their children after them.”

2 Responses to The Green Machine

  1. June 14, 2009 #

    I'm impressed that you made a petticoat, Renae! A seamstress I'm not 🙂

    So thankful the really important things stay the same — yesterday, today, and forever!

  2. June 15, 2009 #

    Thanks, Cheryl! I'm not much of a seamstress, either, but I can make do in a pinch!

    I'm glad that the important stuff stays the same, too. I'm especially glad that God's love remains constant. 🙂

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