June 07, 2024

Restoration is a Beautiful Thing by Brenda Leyland (Guest Post)

 


"He restores my soul."
The Psalmist

It turns out to be a grander word than I initially thought. It's not likely a poet will reach for it first when composing a new poem. Not exactly thrilling to the lyrical ear, it is a good, solid word. I'm talking about the word 'restoration'. There is a kind of hopefulness threading the letters together that conveys well-being because something old and worn can be returned to its former state of beauty and usefulness. Looking at the world around us, it doesn't take long to notice all kinds of things in need of restoration. Our world needs this good, regenerating word. We need its fulfillment in little ways and big ways.

For example, when spring arrived you no doubt hoped—fingers tightly held to your steering wheel—for the restoration of those pothole-infested roadways. Perhaps a peek around the house revealed it was high time to restore order to cluttered closets, cupboards, and desk tops. When I was a girl of four or five, my mother would clean my tiny bedroom. Though I was nervous that she'd toss something I secretly treasured, I vividly remember the thrill of walking into my tidy room—bed made, toys sorted, clothes picked up—and everything felt 'right' in my world. It was once again my happy place in which to play and colour. This probably was my first awakening to how a place restored to order made me feel, although it would be years before I knew, or cared, about the word itself.

I marvel at the patience and creativity of people involved in the restoration of tired old things, including crumbling ancient buildings, forgotten gardens, antiques, worn out toys, vintage clothing, heirloom photos, and classic movies, to name a few. My husband and I enjoy owning antique couches in the Duncan Phyfe style that we bought and had restored years ago when we first married. The woman who restored the pieces learned her craft in England. We watched as she poured her heart and soul into fixing, refinishing, and reupholstering these old couches in fabrics suited to their era. We love using them to this day. I've heard of crafters lovingly restoring heritage quilts to hand down to a new generation, and I recently read of someone who revitalizes discarded, worn-down leather shoes and makes them 'like new'. A family friend sometimes restores old pianos. And then there are the vintage car enthusiasts. It's often fellows, but not always, who take dream cars of their youth—investing time, energy, and grit, not to mention a bit of ready cash, to revitalize those 'babies' to their former glory. What a thrill to catch sight of them on the road, especially if it's a classic Thunderbird or a 1967 red convertible Mustang, although I must admit it's those 1950s cars with their elegant fins that make my heart flutter. Even though I'm not a car buff or a restorer of old objects, I admire and applaud other people's creative workmanship on pieces they treasure.

My heart leaps when I hear about the many restoration and reclamation projects underway around the globe in our natural world, such as the restoration of destroyed wildlife habitats, roadside ditches being reseeded with wildflowers to help the bees, and the reforestation of decimated or burned-out forests. I have admiration for the former First Lady of the United States, Lady Bird Johnson, who was known for her concern for North America's native plants, inspiring conservation and the beautification of one's surroundings, whether they were in wide-open spaces or crowded urban neighbourhoods. As the Creator of all things, we know God has a vested interest in the care and restoration of all his creation. I'm glad for the folks on this planet who share this passion, too.

With hot summer days nearly upon us, what about the restoration of a body tired and thirsty? It's a sweltering, breezeless, summer day and you're tussling weeds entrenched in the garden, wondering why you picked the hottest day of the year for this job. Not only have you worked up rivulets of sweat down your back, but a parched throat as well. Too long without a break, you'll soon be giving your firstborn in exchange for a restorative jug of cool water. It's mind altering, when seconds earlier you thought you'd perish for thirst, and then you feel the reviving, cold water running down your throat. The sigh of satisfaction—and relief—is huge.

It's such a hopeful thing to return a damaged or worn item to its original state, giving it a second chance at life, perhaps reviving it for a future generation to enjoy. Even my niece, Chiante, discovered the great thrill of refurbishing worn out library volumes and textbooks. While a student at Briercrest, she worked part-time in the college's bookbindery—fixing dilapidated spines and covers, cleaning pages, rebinding volumes to once again make them shelf worthy. Fascinated with the craft of restoration and repurposing, she opened her own bookbindery studio, The Bundle Bee Bindery, in the Ottawa area where she now lives and creates.

Of course, I cannot ponder about restoration without thinking about the restoration of health and peace for troubled souls. God himself, as the Great Restorer of the universe, is in the grand, eternal business of repairing souls damaged from living in a world that's tilted sideways. Willingly he begins the slow and careful refurbishing work of making lives beautiful and whole again. What a passion he has. Such tender care he gives his cherished treasures. He even takes our unfulfilled, lost dreams and finds creative ways to restore them to us as something fresh, unexpected, and delightsome. Browsing my Bible, I find favourite references that help me see that God is big into restoration:
- He restores the joy of my salvation (see Psalm 51:12).
- He is a restorer of life and a nourisher of our old age (see Ruth 4:15).

- He restores to us what the locust has eaten (see Joel 2:25).

- He restores to life our mortal body through His Spirit who dwells in us (See Romans 8:11).

- He himself restores us and makes us strong (see 1 Peter 5:10).
Restoration work, regardless of its focus, is a beautiful thing. Thank goodness for the Great Redeemer who continues to carry out his restorative, beautifying work in our world... in our lives. I'm glad for the Lord's invitation to "Come, sit beside quiet waters. Lay down in green pastures. I will give you rest...I will restore your soul" (see Psalm 23:3). Here, in this quiet place we allow his restoration work to begin in us, so we can bring that restoration to the world around us. I think, perhaps, the word is lyrical after all!


Photo credit:
Top Image by Catkin from Pixabay


Inspired by the beauty of God's world, Brenda Leyland writes about life, as she sees it, on her blog at It's Still A Beautiful LifeShe enjoys walks in nature and taking pictures of the flowers in her garden. And at this time of year, June's lingering twilights go a long way to restoring her soul.





12 comments:

  1. Oh yes, I agree, restoration is a beautiful word! And as you've so aptly pointed out, applies in every area of our lives. This is a wonderful theme for my weekend ruminating!

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  2. Thank you, dear Brenda, for this lovely and hope-filled post.

    The following quotes spoke deep hope to me as someone who delights to restore or repurpose old treasures:

    "It's such a hopeful thing to return a damaged or worn item to its original state...

    God himself, as the Great Restorer of the universe, is in the grand, eternal business of repairing souls damaged from living in a world that's tilted sideways."

    Blessings.

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    1. Thank you, Wendy! Always appreciate your thoughtful comments.

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  3. I loved every bit of this post, Brenda. Many (most) people have a fondness for "vintage" of one sort or another, I think, and I appreciate how you likened this to our restored souls. On a personal note, I got Chiante to restore an old Bible for us before they moved to Ottawa. It belonged to my husband's grandfather and was written in old German. The spine had fallen off. She did an amazing job of restoring it to life and now it can rest on a shelf as an heirloom!

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    1. Thanks, Tracy! I tend to agree that many people do have an interest in 'vintage' things of one sort or another. My mom also asked Chiante to restore her falling apart, well-used Bible and did a lovely job of it.

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  4. Michelle Strutzenberger2:07 pm GMT-7

    I also love this, Brenda! It uplifts my heart as I think of how God can and will restore the tired parts of my life. Thanks so much. The Scripture verses on restoration are so wonderful too!

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    1. Like you, I'm so grateful for His restoration work when our lives get weary. Thanks, Michelle, for taking a moment to comment - much appreciated.

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  5. Not only is this a beautiful post, but it's very beautifully written. The way the words float over the tongue is such a pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to so thoughtfully put your words together, Brenda. It's a pleasure to read.

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    1. Thank you, Joy. I did work hard to make the words sing - so they felt right to the ears and tongue as well as the heart. So I appreciate your comment.

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  6. Thanks for such a beautiful, thoughtful post on restoration, Brenda!! It's a gem.

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