Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reflections at the Glass Factory

      This post has been germinating in my mind from the moment we stepped out of the car at this place.  It was the last day of our trip, the last hours, really.  The kids were at the house, and our friends had one more place to show us.  The glass factory.  To call it that is not really accurate, considering it is in a third world country and is not very "factory-ish."  This place has a sad story.  It was a thriving business where the few tourists that do visit the country would come and see glass being blown into amazing works of art.  Then, they could walk through the inventory and pick out what they wanted to take home as their very own.  In 2008 (actually 4 years to the day that we were there which gave me chills when I googled it just now), Cyclone Nargis came through.  It was one of the deadliest cyclones on record, killing over 138,000 people.  The kilns at the glass factory were destroyed, and the people that own it are in so much debt that they cannot afford to have them repaired.  So, the remaining inventory, which is massive, sits in piles, getting slowly covered in vines.  You can still go and purchase things, as we did, but they are no longer making new things or really drawing tourists.

Here are the kilns, as well as the calendar from 2008.


Here's a peak at the piles of glass.  From what I understand, this is the way the inventory worked, even in the good days.


It was a strange experience for so many reasons and left me emotional.  It was the end of our trip, which was bittersweet.  But, more than that, I felt like it mirrored so many things in the country.  That country is filled with resources, and for many reasons, they are not being utilized, which leaves much of the population in poverty.  We kept saying that if someone could just come in and ship everything to the States to sell it - there was thousands and thousands of dollars just lying around.  It is hard to see so much wasted when so many people are in need, including the very people who own the stuff.


I also felt like the whole place was ripe with metaphor.  Too many for me to be able to pick them all out.  But, I felt like it echoed the reality of the fallen world that we live in.  Things were not meant to be this way.  Precious, valuable, beautiful glass was being treated as basically worthless, like so many lives in so many places in the world.  It was a bit staggering to walk through when I put it through that filter.


It made me long for the God that promises "that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (Romans 8:21).  I don't know if the glass factory will every be able to recover, though I certainly hope so.  I do know that I serve the God who promises to make all things new.  I am thankful that he picked me out of a mess of sin to serve him.  What a blessing.


I found this pitcher in one of the piles.  They also were able to locate all the pieces of a nativity set for us, as well of some little dessert dishes.  Amazing little treasures just waiting to be picked out and cleaned off.  Just like we are.


Morgan Smith said...

so cool and sad at the same time. hope you will post a picture of the glass pitcher once it's all shiny again:)

Tales from Goshen said...

That breaks my heart. I would have been bawling my eyes out, Carol. There is something so profoundly sad about that place. Heart-breaking.