The Garden Bench - Warts and all
Quite a few years ago, I determined that our garden would be significantly more enjoyable if it contained a picnic bench. It was a great purchase, we have all used it again and again. It is nothing special. A simple “A-frame” construction but it has served us well.
I remember clearly, sitting on it in the middle of the night,
nearly seven years ago, as my wife’s contractions grew closer together, waiting for the in-laws to arrive for “sitting” duty, before we went to the hospital.
It holds many memories, but the years are beginning to show on this item now. The bolts and screws are getting loose.
The weather has wrought cracks across the surface of the wood.
So a couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time I refurbished this revered piece of garden furniture. I sanded, replaced screws, tightened bolts and painted the old friend with a weatherproof stain.
When the work was done, it looked like a new bench.
No more rickety wobble when we sat on it, but still, it wasn’t quite new. Looking closely, still visible, were the cracks from year after year of alternating rain and sun, expanding and contracting the wood. These marks cannot be hidden with mere sanding and staining.
I suppose I could have bought a new one. They are not that expensive, but this one had been with us through so many events that it seemed only right to put in the effort that might see it survive a few more years.
On reflection, I am glad I kept the old thing.
Every time I use it now, I can ponder the things it has seen. A new table would not have brought those thoughts to mind. A new bench may have been easier, it may go on for a few more years, it may not need painting, but it would not have had any connection with my past.
So now, I look at those cracks and I compare them to lessons that life has taught me. Lessons that may not have been pleasant, that may have left an emotional scar, but without those lessons I wouldn’t be me.
Some people try to hide the emotional scars that life leaves, sometimes a person can pretend; “Nothing to see here”. Those people often come across as less genuine. The people that are easier to trust are the ones that let the scars show. Individuals that seem confident, that progress through life with tenacity and courage have often learned to be that way because of the scars that they have collected.
Don’t be afraid of sharing your imperfections.
Just like the treasured bench, cracks are what will remind people to love you, more than that, the imperfections are you!
The scars we bear should be carried with pride, not pushed onto others, not paraded, simply left on show.
Let people see the real you whenever you can.
I dare you.