moments of grace

this photo was snapped years ago,
of an old ratty table that i 'made new'.

i hauled it out of the barn, wiped it off, washed it down, painted it,
and covered it with
scraps and bits and pieces of tattered, torn, discolored old papers
laying them one over the other
in layers
to cover some things and reveal others.

i worked for days on it,
choosing the right papers to use
smoothing out the wrinkles as they were each glued on painstakingly,
adding painted shadows to define some pieces,
highlighting the words and images that i wanted
to call attention to
and letting some areas fade into the background
to be not so noticeable.

in the end, i added a semi-gloss clear lacquer finish on top
to shine up the surface and protect it from damage.

great allegory there......

i've spent a lot of time hiding things.
revealing only pieces and bits of what was real.
highlighting what i felt was 'worthy' of attention
and was not deathly afraid of revealing.
then glossing it all up to protect something, or someone. or someones.


because the truth is, the old oak table that i started with
[one that came from a dirty old one-car garage behind a cottage
on a busy old street in Bakersfield, California back in the 80's]
had more integrity, more durability, more usefulness
than anything i could have done to it
to make it appear 'better'.
the cracks, the gouges, the stains, the chips
held more honest value
than my 'improvements' and attempts at changing the reality
of what it was.

i'm a lot like that old table....

i've lived many 'lives'.
i've experienced a lot of changes.
i show a lot of 'wear and tear' sometimes ;0)
and i've been through more 'do-overs' and 'make-overs' of my life
[job/career/house/town/state etc. etc. etc.]
just like coats of paint.
i came from less-than-ideal beginnings,
have worked hard to make something 'better' of myself,
and have the stains, scars, dents, dings, gouges, and scratches to prove it.

the thing is
i'm not so worried about covering them up anymore.
i've learned to accept them, live with them,
even appreciate and love them
for how far they have brought me.
for how much they show that i have LIVED.

i don't blame anyone else for the fact that the scars are a part of me
or blame myself for allowing them to be inflicted
i am just grateful that i didn't end up
burning to ashes
when i was thrown into the fire.
i feel like the hand of the master carpenter reached in
and pulled me out when the flames of hell began reaching for me...

and i am thankful that by His hand,
i am still as useful as an old oak table
i can still stand
still serve
still function

and no glossy finish or layers of things to hide behind are necessary
for me to be His beautiful creation...

that's what grace can do.


Christine said...

You are growing and it is a comfort to read.
Funny, how no matter how old you are, we still have plenty of room to grow.
Prayers for you...

Lesley Austin said...

I am sitting in a coffeeshop in Williamsburg, Deb, catching up with you through your words and photos on your blog....I am grieving the loss of my mom, yet beginning to feel the first glimmers of life beginning to settle into a new chapter. You seem to be emerging into a new chapter, as well, and I am wishing you so well with it.



Deb Kennedy said...

Sweet Miss Lesley, how wonderful to hear from you... thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words. My prayers and thoughts are with you as you walk the road of loss, my friend. <3 And yes, turning pages of our lives to reveal new chapters is the way we heal and honor all that have come before us...