Loved and Preserved
I can think of a lot of contexts in which I’ve come to understand this word, “preserve,” two come from personal experience. The first is from my dad who works with the historical preservation of buildings. The second way is from my hobby of canning or preserving food.
Both of these contexts have been a spiritual springboard for my awareness about how Father/Mother God preserves us, keeps us safe, and shelf-stable.
I remember growing up in a beautiful stone house in a small village along the Mississippi River. I couldn’t tell you when the house was built but I know it was old. Until the day we moved we were constantly remodeling/restoring the house. I remember before we had carpet my desk chair would roll to the low side of my bedroom because the wood floors were slanted after many years of the house shifting/settling. While converting the lower level into a kitchen, dining, and family room we did dishes for many months in our bath tub and relied heavily on our microwave.
Yet, these odd remembrances of the house don’t compare to the work and craftsmanship that my dad put into the house to restore it to be a beautiful and liveable place. What stands out most to me is that my dad saw the integrity of the building- the potential for it to be a good home for us. It wouldn’t be worth the work if there weren’t something substantial behind the mess.
This reminds me that like an old building, we often feel hopeless or degenerated. On the outside, it looks like we’re run down. Nonetheless, when we check in with God we remember that we have a spiritual framework far beyond circumstance and body. We are worthy, whole, beautiful and worth preserving.
The second example of what it means to preserve comes from my love of canning. Last summer, my mother-in-law took me under her wing and showed me how to take vegetables from the garden and can them for our long winters. Since that time, it’s been fun exploring what things I can- can!
The spiritual lesson that stands out to me with this idea of preservation is that we preserve things that are useful/that we love. In the case of food we preserve tomatoes for sauce, cucumbers become pickles, and strawberries make sweet jam. In spiritual terms, God preserves us or sustains us in hard times, not because we are merely one of many- or just tolerated by God. Instead we must know that we are precious, loved, and integral to God’s expression being. We are useful. Don’t let discouraging thoughts spoil your sense of hope. The good that is our true nature and constitution cannot be lost or separated from the harmony of Life.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee…” Isaiah 26:3