Repair is an Act of Devotion (Fiction)

MId Century Goodwill Dresser Makeover-1126

Until I found myself raising three young children with an anemic savings account, no amount of “make it do or do without” admonitions could keep me from responding to every one of life’s needs with an appropriate purchase from Amazon.

The gluing and nailing and refinishing of old things was for grandmothers in threadbare dresses living off government-issued bricks of cheese. Bless their old hearts and the way that, even in their parsimony, they always had a fiver to slip into a grandchild’s birthday card.

I believed in abundance. The truth was that we were all deserving, if only we realized it and accepted the gifts that the Universe showered on us nonstop, gifts we could easily and graciously receive if we just put down our armaments, our thimbles, our darning needles.

I still think this is the case.

Where I became disoriented was in seeing abundance as a pursuit that required grand shows of faith. I bet it all, time after time, to prove my faith. I bought the 4-figure program, put everything in the car and moved across the country, backpacked through Asia, made protected love to dangerous people and vice versa.

My marriage was an accident waiting to happen.

In its wake, I find myself broken, but also as hopeful as the twenty dollars I sometimes seed into my savings account. My mate gone, I keep company with three young humans who incubated in my very own body and are still in orbit around me, depending on me for light and warmth and good sense.

We live our lives on a mismatched collection of falling-apart furniture, the wreckage of my 12-year marriage. The nervous banging of the wobbly dining chair makes me want to pull out my credit card, to throw money at this problem and watch the universe respond with the quality, attractive furniture my children and I deserve.

But with money in short supply, it’s an easy choice to wait and make do. It puts me in mind of my grandmother. She might have fixed the old stuff, even if she could afford new.

The slow and purposeful process of repair is an act of devotion. Its ceremony is not just required in hard times, but a way to get through them.

It is an act of discernment, too. Some things cannot be mended.

I look at our mid-Century modern dresser—a sturdy grande dame who’s seen better days—and tell the kids to get their shoes on.

At the corner store, we steer away from the sexy “As Seen on TV” aisle. This trip is about restoration. The old women I loved and pitied are now heroes to me as my own cronedom is gloriously foreshadowed in the wild, silver hairs that spring from my scalp in greater numbers each day.

I let my son choose between the two most promising brands of super amazing glue. It is temperature and impact resistant. It is the anointing oil that will consecrate our restoration.

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