Wednesday, February 9, 2022

The ongoing restoration in all of us...

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to build that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on, you know that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably. You see He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of... You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage, but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.    --C.S. Lewis

                        Our old house in St. Louis, MO--that took so many years to restore 

On account that my grandmother lived in an old house, I was always drawn to the possibilities of making what was once dysfunctional or dilapidated become useful and extraordinary again. I loved every crevice of her house as a child. It was not only a beautiful, stately old home, but it had layers of family history where I could almost hear the whispers. There always seemed to be a new, intriguing corner to discover. But it was usually in an ongoing restoration process. In her mind, she was constantly thinking about how to blend the old and new together--for the best effect and beauty.

        My grandmother's old home that I tried to duplicate--more the feeling than the structure...

Consequently, when it came time for us to buy a home, I voted for the old house that had "potential." In my mind, an old home could become what my grandmother's house had been to me--endlessly fascinating and beloved. Long ago when no one wanted to buy our future St. Louis home because it lacked AC, I saw the bones of something wonderful. And I was right. 

Shortly before we moved to the Middle East, we remodeled the last bathroom in that dear St. Louis house. The long overhaul process of remodeling for many years was long, arduous, and painful. Did I mention expensive? Walls were pushed out. A new stairway was made, and an old one was removed. We built a bathroom and bedroom in the basement for my father-in-law who came to live with us. I kept thinking, "Is this house ever going to be the way I want it?" But it did. Ironically, we unexpectedly moved a few months later when it was supposedly done. We all laughed at the timing, but the lesson is not lost on me. 

Lately, over here in China, we still work on projects. Our projects in China are smaller but equally ambitious. Every day our creativity is challenged as we work on various art projects. We have gessoed some paintings--meaning put on a special covering to coat the old parts we no longer like or not applicable to our current art journey. My son who has autism and I paint a lot together. You could say we have learned how to "do art" together. But sometimes we don't want the old canvases anymore. They take up room, and we know they can be remade, redone, restored, renewed. 

               Elias is busy completely revamping an old picture into a new one--and we can do that with ourselves too. Blending the old and new is a loving act of ongoing restoration.

Even the world starts anew again every spring. The verdant life that has been invisible to the surface comes again to the surface each year. Depending on your timing and where you are, spring can almost be a Northern Lights experience that does not fade away quickly. With all our senses, spring can explode in our life in all the colors that we forgot existed. The monochromatic, dormant life we knew only weeks before is transformed into a vivid explosion of color.   

The process of becoming, changing, and restoring is hard, painful work. Yet, there are many reasons not to give up on ourselves or others. Soon just like the brilliant, bright tulips are undetectable when they are bulbs in the ground, we will see the restoring in ourselves and/or others. Just like my house. All the right bones are there for the extraordinary to happen. Spring is coming soon...

                       Bright tulips by Diane Antone

No comments:

Post a Comment