Sunday, October 24, 2010

Have, Hold

A few years back, I bought an old, weathered patio table and chair set, caked with coats of rust and paint, with beautiful bones.  I saw it's potential and envisioned the final product.  I was inspired to refinish it and make it mine.

I wasn't prepared for the work it would take.  And I gave up.  After months of working on it, I sold the set in a garage sale for $40. 

It's easier to start fresh than to repair, mend.

Doe-eyed bliss and white dresses are sold on the cheap for extra-marital arms and divorce courts.  Layers of hurt and resentment rust over relationships between family, friends.

And in the end, if everything is replaceable, I wonder where you end up.  I wonder what stories you hold and who you share them with.  I wonder what pieces of your soul you lose along the way...

There is something stop-you-in-your-tracks beautiful about restoring an old piece, stripping it down, sanding off rough edges layer by layer by layer...  Fixing broken boards; replacing rusty hinges.  Old made new...again. 

We live in a broken, imperfect place.  We break things and hurt each other.  And there is something stop-you-in-your-tracks beautiful about the battle wounds that scar over between hearts.  The history that can be told and relived as we trace over the places where pain once reigned but healing now covers. 

Buying new will usually cost less money and take less time.  But in the end, the old-made-new items layered around a home are what make it comfortable, lived in, our own.

As I look back over this post, I feel the need to make two things clear: we are all capable of treating the people in our lives like something to be discarded and walked away from.  Recognize all the "I'd never"s and "It won't"s as the naivete they are.  Protect what is sacred.  (Above all else, guard your heart... Proverbs 4:23.)  Second, there are some relationships that need to be discarded.  Abuse is never love and abusive people rarely change. 

An old home, despite hard work and know-how, will never look brand new.  It will have its quirks, and there in lies its charm.  So, make room for imperfection.  Give mess a place in your life.  Love well.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.  (William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116)

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