"What do you do with all the junk?" my neighbor asked as he walked down the hill.

"What you see as junk, I see as possible treasure," I replied.

"You call all that treasure?" he asked.

"Only when I see it as something else, something new." I've been working in my backyard the last few weeks. It's part of a "keep myself busy" plan. Since the  economy is flat and speaking engagements few, I try to keep myself busy doing things that need doing around the house.

I am self-employed. Well, unemployed. No, self-reliant, independent, and sometimes bored.

So the yard and the shed need attention. Next week is clean-up week in my community, so we get to haul all the  things we no longer need to the dumpsters outside the township building. There was, indeed, a hidden treasure in this pile of throwaways. It was during my digging phase that I found it.

My wife decided she wanted to expand a section of the rock garden in the corner of the yard. While cleaning up I found this tiny bottle. It's about two inches high and a half-inch thick. It looks like it had a cork in the top, but I am thinking perhaps a glass stopper. Like one in a perfume bottle.

Of course, my mind begins to play with all kinds of possibilities. I wondered who it belonged to, where it came from, whether it was a gift from a young man to his sweetheart. I showed it to my neighbor and challenged him with the idea.

"It's junk! Look, there's a piece broken on the top. I'd toss it out," he concluded.

Not me. It's still useful. I know every time I see it my mind will dance. I like seeing it as a gift. Not only the imagined one from a guy to his girl, but the gift I was given just because I found it. It can still hold something. I'll find a small cork and add a little colored water to it. When I hold it I will imagine the hand that tossed it aside. Junk? Just because it's slightly damaged doesn't mean it has lost its purpose.

Like me. I've been damaged, broken, chipped, and after all that I still have a purpose. God picked me up out of the trash pile, dusted me off, and found something new I could do many times.

Perhaps this time, writing is the one thing I was meant to do all along. Maybe, just maybe, I needed to be broken and tossed aside in order to fulfill His plans for me.

So, next time you pass by a lost soul, beaten down and damaged, tossed aside and seen as junk by others, remember, that is God's vessel. In the right hands, even a broken bottle is a treasure.

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