I have a clever friend who for several years had her grandchildren convinced that the recycling center at her town dump was the local toy store. Every time they came to see her she would take them to the “toy store” and let them choose big ugly plastic things, pots for percussion, and special jars for catching fireflies. My friend would wink at the attendant and tell him to put their “purchases” on her account. It worked until her grandchildren gained in wisdom (i.e. became Lego-savvy) and caught on to the fact that Star Wars Lego sets never seemed to be in stock at Nana’s toy store.
In the small town New England where I live, we love our dump. Officially, it is The Recycling Center and Transfer Station and a few refer to it as The Hancock Mall, but mainly it is just The Dump. Our beloved Dump. It is a gathering place, a place of business (in that purposefully casual, sidelong way we, as New Englanders, prefer), a place where even curmudgeons get to strut their neighborliness.
It is also a place where we share. At our dump, we have been sharing so well that some changes are in the works. Improvements that will help with the congestion and make it safer for patrons of the ever popular Swap Shop. Technically speaking, the Swap Shop is more of a Give and Take Shop. You don’t have to swap—you can inspect the goods and take home an item without bringing one in that day. Which makes ours a theologically correct dump–a time to sow and a time to reap, a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3).
In true Swap Shop spirit, here are a few things you may want to inspect and possibly take home. Good stuff that has come my way and now begs to be shared:
- A friend who is a Franciscan brother recently introduced me to www.revealedpresence.com. One beautiful photograph a day posted with a simple question for spiritual/personal reflection.
- One of my summer neighbors (who coincidentally I saw at the dump this week) appears in this excellent video of MLK Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. It’s hard to believe that we are coming up on the 50th anniversary of that speech later this summer (August 28). Don’t miss some of the other good things on the Salt Project website.
- And finally, it’s free. It’s on-line. It’s Harvard. And no one cares about your SAT scores. Registration is now open for a course this fall on The Letters of Apostle Paul. Seriously, all you need is curiosity and an internet connection. Part of the EdX initiative bringing free courses from great universities to the people. Foodies, for instance, might want to investigate Science and Cooking. Education evolving!