It reminded me that God wants us to enjoy His creation, and that we can have a part in “creating” by “breathing” life into the raw materials He’s given us to work with. Her words were a reminder of why I do what I do. I hope the things I enjoy, like gardening, writing, or loving my family are not just for me, or what I can get out of it…-Rebecca Barlow Jordan
It’s sort of a funny story about the old couch with “good bones.” My husband and I both had noticed it sitting at the curb like trash being thrown away. It was free to anyone who wanted to drag it away. So, about nine o’clock at night once it was dark enough to not be seen we walked down the street and lifted it up. We walked down the neighborhood street in 29 Palms California carrying this couch which was literally foam and stuffing all hanging out of some tattered old flowered upholstery..but the wooden claw foot legs, the thing has ” good bones,” I told my husband.
We were young and poor and this couch was a gift. I saw the potential. She looked a little trashy sitting on the curb. The wrong place at the wrong time. She wasn’t at her best, maybe she had been hanging out with the wrong crowd for to long.
Now she was mine and I cleaned her up. Fresh upholstery and fresh paint to highlight those intricately carved wooden legs. After a few months someone visiting our house offered to buy it. This couch was not for sale.
This was all 16 or so years ago, maybe longer, I don’t remember. This couch has since undergone five upholstery jobs and one staining job. It has moved to countless homes. Children and dogs have jumped on it, napped on it, eaten snacks on it.
Two cats somehow found their way deep inside the wooden frame and made it their own cozy getaway. After all this time the couch sits in what we hope will be the last house we will ever move into. From a Desert street in California to Wisconsin winters, all dressed up, clad in floral, then black velveteen, a short stint in mustard yellow nobody likes to talk about. Today she sits all dressed in white with ebony stained legs home at last in Northern Missouri.
She sits with books in the home library because she seems to fit there so well with all her own stories to tell. Life is slow now, with only a beagle napping on her. The children come at Christmas but mostly she sits alone. Still with good bones although the truth is she isn’t that comfortable.
But this couch is part of our story, our building of a home. Proverbs tell us a wise woman builds her house and the foolish one tears it down with her own hands. There is something to be said for the slow building up of a home versus quickly filling it up with brand new stuff. Not that new stuff is bad or anything, new has it’s place.
In the end I want my home to be storied. Corners with curiosities. Couches that sit with piles of old books comparing stories. An old copper tea kettle my sister in law bought me at an antique store. Spice jars my grandmother flavored food from, lovingly sprinkled.
Wherever we live, no matter how long we may or may not stay, dwell deeply there as if you are never leaving. Build, create, breathe life back into what looks dirty and dying. After all isn’t that exactly what God does with us.