on restoring a bench

Some months ago we moved into a bungalow which had belonged to an elderly lady. In the garden, she had left a bench which had most definitely seen better days. As we already had a newer one, a kind gift during a church season of Acts of Kindness, our initial thoughts were that sadly we would need to dispose of it.


However after a few weeks we realised that our garden, small though it is, has the sun in different parts of it at different times of the day, and so perhaps the bench could be used after all. So I set about restoring it.


The bench had clearly once been a good quality wood, but it was not in a good state. Years, perhaps decades, of the fierce heat of the sun and the soaking of persistent rain had made many alterations in the shape and colour of the wood. It took a while of gentle sanding by hand, and coats of wood stain, until, whilst it will never look as it once did, it has become useable again. We made the decision not to paint it, simply masking what lay beneath, but instead to stain it, preventing further deterioration but leaving the wood, with all its imperfections, still visible.


The thing is, to those who love new and pristine things, this bench would have no appeal. But I love it. The wear and tear of the years means that there are all kinds of pattern and colour variations which make it both unique and interesting. Somehow the bench can now wear the impact of the seasons with pride. More than this, I was the one who restored it. It will be always special to me because of the time and care I spent on it.


We are all in need of restoration – perhaps for some of us experiences over the years have taken a profound toll. Yet the great Restorer not only takes the time and care to gently ‘sand’ away some of the rough and damaged parts, but to allow the remainder to be what it is, to not disguise the ravage and wounding that is there, but to treat it with honour.


And He looks with pride at his workmanship, recognising that we have a particular beauty to him, being gently and lovingly restored as we are and, with and perhaps even because of all our imperfections, still being able to be used for his purposes.







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