Recently Thad and I went looking for dining room furniture. My brother and his wife have enjoyed many years of consignment and antique shopping and suggested that they take us to several of their favorite haunts. We spent two weekends going with them and I am not sure what was more fun: looking for a find or watching them look for that something special to add to their home. We learned about the different eras of furniture and their “specialness”. We discovered a whole new world of beautiful treasures and something about ourselves as well.
In a store called Deja New, surrounded by distracting tables, chairs, sofas, lamps, and bric-a-brac, stood this tall and stately honey colored wood curio cabinet with curved glass, and clawed feet built in the late 1800’s. It had a shelf missing, some roughness in its wood, nicks and scuffmarks around its edges and years of dust and neglect. The light although working, showed wiring that was worn and dangerous. Regardless, the curio cabinet spoke to us of long ago family gatherings, and memories that had been made and showcased in it. Despite its worn appearance, we fell in love and decided to bring it home.
My brother and sister- in-love gave me a Beginners Wood Restoring 101 class and using tack cloths, ultra-fine steel wool, soft cloths and Howard’s Refinishing polish I began to wipe away the years of rough treatment and neglect. I went over the nicks and gouges until it was smooth and its wood shined bright. While it still missed the one glass shelf, Thad replaced the light and its wiring.
As I worked on the cabinet, I began to see the analogy between me and this antique cabinet. While I was made in God’s image to be beautiful, life and events and surgeries have marked me, scarred me, and changed me into what I am today. Missing a few parts: an appendix, a cancerous lump, and an orchard of benign tumors, polyps, fibroids; I no longer look shiny and new. And I have the scars to prove it. God has been refinishing me through each of these events (sometimes with steel wool a whole lot courser than extra-fine)! When I am brushed up and cleaned I still look older, and some of life’s scars are evident but just like our new curio cabinet – I am re-purposed. What I have lost in mobility, agility, and mental acuity, I gain in prayer time, wisdom, maturity and strength in faith. I have learned that it’s not about my shiny finish but more about my content, my history and my soul. The events in my past, both good and bad, have made me into something new. I am repurposed for a beautiful and purposeful life in Christ. After all, He uses crack pots – why not a worn, slightly scuffed and roughed up curio cabinet like me.
I stood back to admire “her” beauty. It was restored– not like it was originally – no it would never be quite the same. In a way, it was better. Refined by age, and still showing some battle scars it also showed its strength. Renewed and repurposed it gained a new sense of presence and a specialness that often comes with things that are old.
It was beautiful.