Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Notes From a Piece of Furniture

(Inspired by something I read where C.S. Lewis said that sometimes trying to do all the right things in an attempt to make ourselves spiritually better persons was somewhat akin to being covered on the surface with a coat of paint, when what we really need is to be "stained" and a recent conversation where I said I did not care much for allegorical stories (I don't!) and the realization that I did enjoy seeing Chronicles of Narnia, and then the remembrance of how much I loved little Miss Much Afraid, from the book Hind's Feet on High Places. My apologies for using the giant rocker image again. I had written this goofy little thing before we took our Saturday outing, and now it just seems to fit.)

I am a rocking chair designed for comfort. Or maybe I am an old wardrobe with plain and simple lines. I could be a bureau with large drawers, useful for storing all manner of unsightly things. Or perhaps I am a banister-- marking the boundary between solid ground and thin air. I am, most decidedly, not a delicately gilded French Provincial piece of furniture. I am solid. And heavy.

I was stained many years ago by the one who created me. The color seeped into my pores and there was depth beyond my surface. But that was many years ago.

I was also painted through the years with garish colors that gradually covered the stain. Oh, there were nicks here and there where the staining still shone through. But for the most part, I now wear mixed and sloppily applied coats of paint intended to improve my beauty. But here’s the thing: The colors have all run together. Now I am a motley-looking piece whose original beauty has been marred.

There are colors from the “Don’t” family: (you might think of them as being from the human years of avocado and harvest gold)—Don’t Drink, Don’t Smoke, Don’t Chew, Don’t Cuss, Don’t Dance, and one particularly gruesome color—Don’t Go With Those Who Do.

More recently: colors from the “Should” family of color (I can’t think of the human equivalent for these colors. I have been out of circulation lately.) have been applied—Should Go To Church Every Time the Doors Are Open, Should Read the Bible Daily, Should Be Good, Should Serve Others At All Costs, Should Always Put Yourself Last, and so on. I have heard the “Should” colors are very popular with the human ladies.

As a piece of furniture, you get used to being shoved around here and there, or stored in a hot attic, or (the very worst) being relegated to the angry teenager’s room where they will slam your drawers and stick darts in your surface.

But lately this craftsman has been looking at me and he has started a sanding process which has irritated me. I have griped and complained. It hurts to be sanded, and sometimes he uses this little tool to remove thick blobs of paint and it leaves a bare gouged place that is sensitive and vulnerable, even to a sturdy piece of furniture like me. And there is that clamp tool he has used to tighten up my joints. It doesn’t feel so good either. He just keeps on working in spite of my discomfort, and it may all be in my imagination, but I think I am actually starting to look a little different.

He’s not finished with me yet, but the places where he has been working are starting to shine again and I feel so much lighter without all those heavy coats of paint marring my beauty. Sometimes humans tend to all look alike to us, but this is a real craftsman who is working on me now. I think he’s the one who first stained me. I thought he had forgotten all about me and yet, here he is, cleaning me up and polishing all the dull places.

Did you know a dull piece of furniture could be grateful?

I am.


  1. Wow! What a beautiful illustration of religiosity and life as it comes to us, Annie. It is hard to define "church". We do so poorly in our efforts to create holiness, forgetting the reason for it all is that individual connection established. The institution, itself, is as as big a mission field as what it seeks to convert. Perhaps, for that reason, it is where God would have us. You have well-stated where most of us find ourselves at some point in the journey, however. Great writing!.....

  2. terrific post. reminds me too of the Velveteen Rabbit learning to be real and having some of his fur loved off. :o)

  3. This rocks, Annie. It really does. :)

  4. You nailed this one! What a great post!

  5. Jeepers Annie.....what a great post. Head nodding all the way through it...

  6. I can remember years and years ago, at the home of my grandparents. My gramps had made me a balsa wood glider, man, that thing could fly. Anyway, Gramps said it was to be flown outside...only outside. So I was in Grandmas kitchen, it didn't seem dangerous, after all I had pretty much mastered the art of flying. So what the heck, one short flight, one side of the kitchen to the next.
    Smash!!! right in to Grans nic nac shelf. Horrified I watched a fine china cup hit the floor like an asteroid hitting the earth.Yep! I was doomed, i watched my short life pass before me in a nano second. The fine China cup had belonged to Grans mom, infact it was the only thing that was passed on to her by her mother.
    I sat and waited in the kitchen chair like a convict on deathrow, wait for the warden to flic the switch. But Gran never said a word. She knelt nad gently, picked up the tiny pieces one by one, momentarily stopping as if each one had a memory. It took her months, of loving patience to put it back together. At first you could notice the cracks, but after time mysteriously they seem to disappear, and it looked as beautiful as when it was first made. I think back, and God has done that with my life.

    Thanks Annie, for your words have brought that beautiful memory back to life for me again.

  7.'ve been tagged......for a friday meme


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