In our house we have an awful lot of furniture that isn’t ours. The house is a perk of the job and before we came here, it was fully furnished. We sold most of our stuff before moving up, bringing only things we really loved or couldn’t bear to part with for whatever reason.
The furniture that furnishes our home is a little bit extravagant for my tastes. The sofas are all leather and new. There are end tables and coffee tables and lamps and things I don’t even know the names of. The kitchen table set is the most beautiful/extravagant of them all. And then we came in with our reclaimed wood bookshelf and our pallet shelving and spice rack. And they don’t quite seem to mesh.
But when I’m feeling drained, when life is getting hard, I find myself sitting in the corner by my old worn wood bookshelf, underneath a pallet shelf. I don’t plop down at that beautiful kitchen table to rejuvenate. Nope. I plop down next to what was once a pile of junk in the top of an old barn. Wood that had been good, then turned old and used to make dams in the ditches to flood irrigate fields and then, got too old for that and was retired to the loft of the barn and forgotten about. That is where I find some peace. Because it is beautiful now. It has interest and character. There are still some places dyed green from the moss. There are knots and holes and weathered grey that is real from years of work, instead of stain or paint.
And I’m not the only person who loves it. My neighbor has joked about stealing it in the night. She walks in and can see this insanely gorgeous kitchen table and wants my old weathered bookshelf instead. My children play around it. Visitors often comment on it or ask where we got it because they want one too.
There might be people who look at it and think, “What a piece of junk.” but that doesn’t keep it from bringing me joy. There are surely people who would prefer the fancy furniture but that doesn’t mean I have to.
Create Beauty from Junk
And thinking about this, I’ve realized that we have the ability to create beauty from junk. Whether is is the old junk wood in the top of a barn loft or the junk we’ve been carrying around in our hearts and minds, we can make it beautiful. We don’t have to love only the new and shiny. We don’t have to look at what we have to offer and think that it is less than what someone else could offer. Instead, we can see how beautiful the old, the damaged, the stained things are in our lives and turn them into something that can bring joy and peace and rejuvination to those around us.
This attitude has helped me love the smile wrinkles that are coming around my eyes and the streak of grey hairs I started growing at 21. It’s helped me love my introverted side instead of trying to pretend to be someone “shinier” and more fun. It has helped me embrace the many flaws, whether personality or appearance, that I have as something unique and meaningful.
Maybe that’s the real reason I love my old worn bookshelf; it helps me see the beauty instead of the junk.