Purchase stock in bubble wrap. Why? I am in the process of driving the market price up. Bubble Wrap is the official name of a product marketed by the Sealed Air Company. The first sheet of bubble wrap was produced by gluing two shower curtains together and was originally marketed as wallpaper. (Really? Our grandchildren would have popped every bubble on the wall. I would have popped every bubble on the wall!) Later, the product was marketed as a protective shipping item, IBM embraced the idea (bubble wrapping computers for shipping) and the rest is history. As I pack for my upcoming move, I am driving the market price up on Sealed Air Company’s Bubble Wrap.

I’m amazed at how fragile my life is. I could almost mark every packed box—FRAGILE. There are the obvious boxes of serving dishes, wine glasses and framed family photos. In addition, there are boxes of musical instruments, pottery, art and various delicate trinkets. I’m trying my best to ensure that nothing is broken on the 2600-mile journey. I’m also settling into the notion that everything will not last. Nothing can be completely held onto. Things get broken. Things get lost.
Bubble wrap is a large part of my packing process, but it has never been part of my ministry. Live long enough and you learn there’s no protective layer that shields us from the harshness of the human experience. We are fragile. We live with fragile bodies, housing sometimes fragile spirits, in multiple fragile environments. Brokenness is an inevitable part of life.

Fortunately, we are often privileged to experience the miracles of mending, healing and reparation. It is not uncommon, however, to carry scars—seen and unseen. In the worst of situations, we suffer seemingly irreparable fragmentation and loss. The church—at her best—walks alongside this fragility and brokenness. Regardless of the outcome, we continue to speak words of faith, hope and love into every situation. We continue to hold forth a trust that, in time, all things will be made new by the power of God. As I pack my boxes, I realize I’ve provided no bubble wrap for your lives…but I do hope the words of hope have been enough.

—Jim

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