“I met a girl once who sighed and told me she was not lovely, and it confused me that she could not see the sunlight shining through her scars.” -A.B.
There is something tender about those who have been battered and bruised by life, something beautiful in the brokenness.
I conducted a two-day program over the weekend. It was a pilot program and the group and I figured it out as we went.
It turned out to be far, far more powerful an experience than I had envisioned.
It was held at my family’s cottage, a place well-loved since our first summer here in the 1000 Islands back in 1956.
Back then it was basically a 20’ x 20’ square of a cabin. There were only two children at that time, and one bedroom.
Over the years, my parents kept having children and each summer we’d have another project, another expansion. My father built the place, room by room, with the questionable assistance of his young off-spring.
Now, it’s a sprawling thing with two floors and five bedrooms that clings to the shoreline (it was built prior to restrictions) and our dining room juts out over the river, an impossibility if constructed today.
As I prepared the place for the program—cleaning the windows, sweeping the floors, organizing the kitchen—I noticed all the uneven boards, all the dents in the hard wood floor, the stains and chips and scratches, signs of a long happy life and decades of use.
People have dropped things, spilled things, left things, or inadvertently put holes in the walls. Stains have developed, discolourations have occurred, and clutter abounds.
Floors are uneven, door jambs no longer square, and some windows can barely open or close anymore.
It is a rustic, weather-worn, lived-in home, without a touch of glamour or gloss.
Yet hearts are healed here.
And like the participants in the program which concluded only hours ago, this ramshackle house carries herself with a sort of elegance only achieved through faith, perseverance, and grace.
She is a battered beauty, full of imperfections and riddled with scars, like you and me and the rest of the world right now.
And utterly glorious anyway.