There is a job I have been putting off for a very long time. I think I keep pushing this job to the back burner because it seems like it will never be finished. I should probably give you a little background on what I am talking about.
Waaaaaay back, when we started redoing the house we are now living in we knew we wanted to find some really neat old woodwork. The kind of woodwork that was wide, substantial and whispered of talented craftsmen of days gone by. The kind of craftsmen who took pride in their work.
We found old houses, long abandoned and spoke with their owners. We spent days, and more days that added up to what is probably weeks taking out everything from trim, wainscoting, wood flooring, doors,railing spindles to beaded ceilings. Everything went into the barn till we were ready to work with it.
Over the years, whenever the mood comes over me, or we are hosting a large holiday gathering such as this Thanksgiving; my husband journeys out to the barn and brings me some more trim to work on. I have no idea when this project, called our home, will be finished. At the rate I am going it will be a long time!
The trim we are using on our main floor is a mission style and came from a local high school that was demolished. The trim is wide and is made of beautiful oak boards that were stained black walnut and are true to size (definitely old woodwork).
These boards have been laying in the barn for quite a long time. When my husband hauls them out they are filthy! In the summer our barn is home to a flock of barn swallows who have nests everywhere. I love the barn swallows as they consume a ton of mosquitos; but their bathroom habits in the barn leave a lot to be desired. Needless to say the boards need a lot of cleaning up before I can actually get to staining, sanding and varnishing.
I have spent some time the last two afternoons working on baseboards. It is a lot of work but the end result is always worth it. The wood goes from dusty and dirty to smooth and gleaming. The boards proudly display the beautiful grain of the wood.
It is always a little amazing to me when I put the stain on the wood. You would think since it is all the same type of wood (oak), the stain would all “take” the same. It doesn’t. Some areas of the wood stain darker than others. The nails holes, scratches that would not sand out, places gouged by students long since graduated……..some would say flaws….become more pronounced because of the stain. Each piece is so unique.
To me those “flaws” add so much character to the trim in my home. They speak of real people who have impacted my trim boards. I think that our lives are a lot like those boards. We are impacted by those around us in ways we don’t always even realize.
Some of those around us, leave us hurting, scarred and scuffed. We think we will never get over those hurts. Others are like the sandpaper that softens the edges of those same hurts and gouges. They can’t always remove the gouge or scratch but they can help get rid of the slivery rough edges.
I am so grateful that God places people in our lives that can be grace like sandpaper. It is not always a comfortable thing but the end result is well worth it. Like beautiful pieces of trim we are sanded smooth, healed with the varnish of God’s love and the people He sends. We are, once again, restored into something of beauty.
The nail holes may still be evident…. there may be scratches left from a life lived fully, and there may even be gouges that speak of events and circumstances in our lives that were painful at the time. I like to think those same “flaws” testify to hope, to love and to grace and that the imperfections make for a restored life that is even more beautiful.
There is a lot to be learned when refinishing old woodwork. While the job can be tedious….I am glad for the life lessons.
“God can turn your biggest flaws into your biggest cause.”
― Mandy Hale,