Reclaim: From the Middle English reclamen, to call back
Some days I feel like old barn wood.
Solid, yet slightly bowed in the middle …
Curved in places that were once straight and narrow …
Brown locks fading to gray.
It’s heavy enough to truly recognize that I’m growing older but the image of a barn slanting westward on the roadside feels weightier. It reminds me that I am mortal.
So when I found out at forty that I was pregnant for the third time, that weathered tilt that lurks in my lower back sighed ever so slightly. This body-house of mine felt every bit its age.
And just as I might question the wisdom of, once again, using a vintage barn that has stood empty for years, I leaned into the Holy Spirit, whispering questions and what-ifs by the handful.
“Is this a good idea?” I murmured, more than once.
But in the way of God, there is no waste, no throwaways, no over wrought.
God is in the business of reclaiming our spent goods and worn-out offerings and then fashioning them into new shapes.
God welcomes the opportunity to call out beauty that is hidden behind splinters and weathered knots.
For these old boards are not done yet.
The sunlight of twoscore seasons of four has faded their color, yes, but it has also left stories in its wake. Stories hidden in tree-cast shadows and ivy tendrils or stories hewn from summer’s blazing heat, as well as the gentle beam of winter’s smile.
There have been storms that have blown through the cracks, cold and bitter, whistling through the weak spots and whipping around rough corners. Rain has fallen on them enough times to carve out silken valleys in the wavy grain of the wood.
And within the frames that have held this whole structure together, there has been laughter.
But all of this exposure has served a purpose: weathered boards are stronger, they are rich in history, and they are beautiful because of, and not in spite of, their steadfast standing.
So God and I? We are creating something together these days. We’re taking what has been and what once was and we’re fashioning all of that into what will be. For things that lean must also depend and my slanted walk simply gives away my dependence on something bigger and stronger than I.
My weathered form is the perfect medium for a new kind of art—the art of reclaiming beauty that has always been.