“Bote!” “Garapa!” “Dyaryo!”
Shouted by a cart-pushing Chinaman going around our Manila neighborhood, these words woke me up most mornings when I was a kid—bagong-saltang probinsyana (fresh from the province, Sampaloc, Quezon) getting used to life in Manila.
This was how migrants from mainland China started their fortunes in Manila back then. They collected bottles, old newspapers, and metal scraps, set up sari-sari stores, or sold shoes from house to house.
Their persistence surely paid off. From humble rickety shops, their children in the long run woke up to mornings in posh residential villages. The saga of Shoemart (SM) magnate Henry Sy is just one of those inspiring stories. But this blog is not about him.
This is about how one rises from brokenness to wholeness.
Let’s revisit bote, garapa collected by cart-pushing Ching. Bottles by themselves are a pretty interesting topic. [I wrote loads of promo materials on them when I was in SMC’s Packaging Division.]
I find them pretty amazing, actually. A great metaphor for brokenness, and wholeness.
Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
You see, those collected bottles are really destined for breaking. So when you break a bottle, wonder not, they’d be resurrected. Brought back to a bottle manufacturing facility, these broken bottles are then mixed with other ingredients like silica sand, soda ash, and limestone; then burned, not to crisps, but to flowing liquid.
Whoah, shapeable? Indeed.
Because they’re impermeable rock-solid objects, these broken bottles must be transformed to molten glass at approximately 1500 degrees centigrade. (Makes you wonder how hot hell is. Maybe hotter?!)
Then as molten lava-like wonders, they spurt out as shooting glowing embers which are then molded and cooled off into bottles.
Brand new! Shards no more! Soon displayed in supermarket shelves with their pricey contents inside.
Been broken yourself? Went through the fire yourself? And while you’re at it, did you feel you could not get back up and collect your shattered parts?
I have good news for you.
God is in the business of collecting and putting together the shards of our broken lives, not to glue them back together, but to transform us into brand new glowing containers of His glory.
Yes, we need to be fired, but fired precious, for His wonderful purpose for our lives. Memories of our old shattered, dysfunctional lives may still sneak in, but in Christ, we can become new.
I’ve experienced it myself. Once me-centered Yay does not live here anymore. (Well, once in a while, she tries to sneak in but new-me catches her in due time.)
Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold the new has come.”
Transformed to contain His glory, brand-new you can now shine your bright light for those around you. No longer afraid and cowering in fear and insecurity, but displayed—yet humbly—for the Master’s use.
Prayer: Break me and make me brand new, Lord. Change my heart of stone that I may hear from you. Jesus, I repent and confess: You are my Savior and my Lord. Do with me as you please.