Around our house, we generally follow one rule for updating essential (read "not creative, cutesy, or crafty") items in our home:
Wait until it's REALLY broken, then figure out a way to fix it.
I like doing the fun stuff of home-makeover-ing -- not the necessities. But the other day when my son's dresser pulls broke for the fiftieth time, I figured it was time for a cheap update. So off to Lowe's we went to convince a six-year-old how cool it would be to pick the $1.27 handles to put on his only big piece of furniture. For some reason, he was picky about it -- he actually wanted some sort of Wild Kratts inspired jungle-motif wild animal handles, but, alas, we did what we could and bought what actually existed.
The old oak dresser in his room has seen many homes. It's an old hand-me-down piece that originated in my grandparents' house in Mt. Holly, Arkansas many years ago. It was later gifted to my folks and lived in their master bedroom for years before making its home in my room during my teen years. So I couldn't help but reminisce a little as I carefully removed each broken brass drawer pull. I remembered stashing boxes of notes and letters from our school days in those top drawers alongside VHS tapes of my favorite MTV shows. I remembered the multitude of cheerleading and prom photos that topped that dresser right beside my black and gold homecoming corsages.
Little flecks of memories came chipping off those rusted screws.
And what had come before my own memories? Candles and family photos, hand-crocheted bedspreads dripping with history, love notes and maternity clothes and papers from my grandfather's stint in World War II, graduation caps and awards papers and my own baby clothes, perhaps. History.
And behind each weathered brass plate lay the imprint of its life on the wood's face. A good eighty years of dust existed beneath those ornaments. Eighty years of life hidden for decades behind a weathered old brass decoration. These tiny personal building blocks of our history and existence had traveled this life with us, and we didn't even know they were there.
I gently brushed away each little smudge of history as I placed a new sturdier handle in its place. And just like that, it's footprint was gone. Three generations had touched this old piece of wood, tugged at its handles, stored treasures, lived life, and then moved on. Today it still stands tall holding precious plastic trinkets and super hero underwear. Life, as they say, goes on.
God speaks to our hearts in these small things. With each brushing away of the dust hidden behind those old brass plates, a verse pounded in my head: "You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14) Their lives, my life: a mist, a vapor, literally dust in the wind (or on the wood, in this case). I don't mean this to be a depressing thing, but to emphasize our beautiful, yet tiny part in this big, BIG story that God is still writing. Those generations before me told a good story. Now it's my turn.
We continue to step into the next chapter, with hearts full of encouraging memories, anticipation, and promise. And it's a remarkable promise -- one assuring a future remaking of this little ole dust of our existence.
**And in follow-up to the previous post "Gotta Get a Goal" -- I'm looking forward to sharing my summer writing experience with you. Details soon. Hoping these new songs will also tell a good story. :)