Picking up the fragments

“They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets full.” (Matthew 15:37)

This line in today’s Gospel reading caught my attention. I don’t know that I ever thought about this before, but why did they pick up the fragments?

Why didn’t people take home any leftovers? What were Jesus and his disciples going to do with seven baskets of leftover food?

Maybe this line caught me because of Thanksgiving dinner with one of my sisters and her family. We all ate our fill and there was a fair amount leftover. As we were getting ready to leave, stacks of plastic containers appeared on the counter. The hosts did not want all the leftover food so the guests were invited to “pick up the fragments.”

Two thoughts came to mind as I pondered this one line from Matthew’s gospel: the first is about picking up the fragments of my life, which is the process I am engaged in now. My life today looks so very little like my life did five years ago or even one year ago. Everything is changed and I am deciding what my new life will look like.

I have a friend who is also picking up the fragments of her life after getting divorced. She recently told me she has started going to concerts, something she enjoyed years ago and has not done for a long time. I wondered what I might pick up again from long ago and weave into my new life.

When Jim was preparing to die and reviewing his life, he was also considering mine. One day he asked me if I thought I would start sewing again once I moved back to Michigan. “I don’t know,” I told him. “I hope you do,” he said. I had not sewed seriously for a number of years, so I found his interest in it curious. Maybe he had some insight that I did not. Maybe I will start sewing again.

Deciding what is worth picking up and carrying forward is a sifting process. I find myself considering and reconsidering everything to see what will fit in my new life and what I will leave behind.

The second thought about the line from Matthew was how abundant the leftovers are. Just like our Thanksgiving dinner, we all ate and there was enough left over for everyone to have another meal or two. The abundance of what is left over is one of those mysteries of life and it reminds me I will always have enough and then some leftover.


9 thoughts on “Picking up the fragments

  1. Elizabeth Mosier

    I think Jim was on to something! Sewing in itself is a way of gathering fragments, putting pieces together to make a satisfying whole. May your new year be filled with colorful fabric and artful designs of your own making!

  2. Anne Marie Lom

    Thank you for this very timely reflection. I love the images of weaving, sewing, gathering, integrating in moving toward transformation and new life. Advent is a good time for this type of reflection.

  3. Madeline Bialecki Post author

    Anne Marie, I am trying to stay with Advent this year and not be rushed along to Christmas by externals. Hope is my word for the season this year; hoping in my future is part of that. A blessed and hopeful Advent to you.

  4. Dessie

    It’s nice to hear your stories. They always make me feel good. I miss seeing you in town. There’s a dog that lives nearby that sounds just like Detroit! I always turn to look for her!! Hope all is well!


  5. eileen

    You are also an excellent knitter…that too involves a fresh surface. I keep remembering that in every situation I find myself, it is distinctly because that is where God wants me to be…how loving of Him to provide you with several clean slates so that He can direct your path towards Him. The seven baskets of ‘leftovers’ evidently representated the seven sacraments which were no small riches. Look for blessings each morning during prayer as I know they will reverberate for you all the day long, esp. The Advent reading and prayers in the Advent magnificat supplement.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s