Broken Beauty

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

I happen to make my home, not only in the beautiful state of Colorado but in a picturesque neighborhood as well. The aspens, pine trees, and wild life provide such scenic landscape.

I am doubly blessed to enjoy that beauty by walking with a good friend, who lives nearby. And what began as, let’s get some exercise has become a special time to share life together.

Although we usually walk the same 3 mile route, some days seem to be a new experience, with things to see that we didn’t notice before.

The other day was one of those days.

We walked the same streets but took the route backwards and even walked on opposite sidewalks than our usual path. So, the patch of flowers that were there before, we just now noticed.

That is when we happened upon this subtle little scene. One weathered wooden bench sat unassuming on the side of a yard. It was not the main attraction on the lawn. It was merely placed as an, “oh yeah, and we have this over here”.

How I longed to stop and sit on its simple planks under the shade of that nearby tree and listen to the quiet. A pot of flowers sat beside it, keeping the bench company. They were a perfect composition.

Together, it was – just a little bit of pretty.

Not big or overbearing. Not a major landscape overhaul. Just a corner of a yard that whispered, “Come and sit a while.”

My friend and I commented that it was a picture of just how we’d like our life. Not big or grandiose. Just a little bit of pretty.

But, I confess, as we stopped to snag a photo, the first thing I noticed was not the beauty but the broken. The flaws in the perfect. You see, one of the wheels had snapped. It sat there precariously revealing that it originally had a place but it was no longer whole and didn’t fit.

Sadly, this is the part of the picture I relate to more. The broken. The flawed.

Several years ago we hired a good friend to install some beautiful wood flooring in our house. The wood was a deep red oak color and the glossy finish and shine were spectacular. Until my dogs got at it.

We had two very large indoor dogs that used to think it was fun to chase each other in the house. So about a month later when I wanted to invite our friends over for a thank you dinner, I was utterly embarrassed.

As they walked in, I quickly apologized for all the scratches in the wood floors. I will never forget my friend’s response – “that’s not damage, that’s patina.”

Sometimes I think the Lord says the same thing about me. I’m not a broken down bench, I’ve just got patina. Lots of patina.

But like my floors, the reason the bench broke is because it was used. It had been exposed to the elements and probably been abused by hail and buried under snow. The Colorado sun is hot and hard on wood outdoors and added distress.

But old and full of patina, that bench still had a quiet unassuming beauty on the side of the yard. Content to not be the main attraction. Fixed on just being a bench, whether anyone noticed or not. Because that’s what it was made for.

Maybe, that’s not so bad to be a broken beauty, used for God’s glory.

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