My patient wouldn’t let me leave without a gift – well, three gifts, to be precise: a Danish pastry (which I’d not eaten with the cup of tea he’d made because of my diet), half a dozen eggs from his friend’s hens, and large wooden bowl.
It was a chunky heavy piece, hewn from a great branch, left with much of the rough uneven edges of the original tree. But it had laid unused in an old coal scuttle next to an empty fireplace for the past two years since he had downsized to a smaller property.
“Take it,” he said, “if you like it. If you don’t, I’m only going to throw it away.”
Sucker for a piece of ‘real tree wood’ (as my father used to call it) how could I refuse?
Back home, I knew it wouldn’t be difficult to restore it to its former glory. Impatient to do so and with no teak oil in the house, I found the lemon oil that my husband uses to care for the beautiful cherrywood of his guitars. Carefully and gently I wiped away the accumulated dust, grime, and glitter from the bowl’s surfaces and crannies with a damp cloth. Then, once the bowl had dried, I stroked the softly scented oil into all its smooth surfaces, leaving the crude irregular parts matt to emphasise the contrast.
It glowed. The contrast of all its curves and age lines stood out as they should. It was restored to how its creator had intended.
And I thought about what restored actually means. The dictionary defines it as when something is returned to its former condition. But there’s another definition, which is when something is given back to its original owner.
And I wondered what is required for us to be restored?
Perhaps we too need to let One who loves us and wants us to clean us up and apply not a hard varnish but a holy oil that will sink right into our very being and bring out our natural glow? We were meant to be clean, shining with His inner light, knowing who made us and to whom we belong.