My friend Rachel has an eye for seeing the value in things overlooked. She has the ability to spy a left-over object or an unused item and see the potential in it. A stack of rebar, an old railroad tie, and a piece of rough-cut wood becomes an incredible coffee table. In her garage, several partially completed projects awaiting one more coat of paint or another round of sanding are masterpieces in process.
Had I seen them in the thrift shop, they would have been just another discarded piece of junk. In Rachel’s garage, they called me to take a second look and marvel over the beauty and functionality she had coaxed from them. No longer rejects, sitting in the trash pile, overlooked as worthless. No longer a thrift store bargain, but now upscale, artsy home decor to be found in a high-end shop.
The walls of her dining room display several pieces of her original art, one of which was a painting of a woman, face upturned, basking in the rain with her red umbrella neglected at her side. I don’t know Rachel’s vision when she painted it, but knowing Rachel, I saw a woman soaking up grace, refusing to hide — even under the shelter of a socially accepted umbrella — standing in the puddles, reveling in the life-giving shower, living, drenched and immersed.
This past week, I’ve thought a lot about those treasures. I’ve noticed that I have been inspired to create and explore my own artistry. I’ve looked at my surroundings differently. And isn’t that one of the critical by-products of living with purpose and passion, that we see things from a new perspective?
And I’ve thought a lot about myself, in terms of lost treasure. You see, I believe Rachel is a reflection of an ancient, wise, and infinitely skilled Artist. This Creator moves with purpose, sees the overlooked, and specializes in the rejected and the discouraged. This Craftsman has an eye for lost treasure, peels beneath the worn and faded exterior and draws out the value in a piece that has long since been passed over, gifted in breathing new life into those who have been given up on, those who have given up on themselves, and those who have been pushed to the side as worthless.
With loving care, a new coat or another gentle sanding is applied, and the dust is blown away, revealing a breath-catching glow that had been there all along. The “worthless” now has worth; the value of the devalued has been restored; the cast off has been retrieved, reinstated as a showcase in the home of the artisan.
Seeing Rachel’s passion, I was reminded of my life, redeemed and restored. Pursued and sought out by a master craftsman with an eye for lost treasure, I have been given a second chance; I have had life breathed back into me and been rejuvenated to better reflect the vision and intention of the one who saw the potential I had and invested of his own time and materials to unveil the beauty that was hidden.
This is why we must create. This is why we must sing and dance and design model airplanes and decorate cakes and write code and play basketball well and never give up on becoming who we were meant to be. Because in being true to the purpose for which we were made, we reflect glory. We shine brightly, our lives telling the story of a master who wants every single one of us to flourish and to grow and to embrace every aspect of this thrilling life we have been given. Just as a beat-up and lovingly restored piece of furniture owns character, so too, do our lives as they’ve been through the shop of the Restorer and sent back out with hope and courage, immersed in grace.
… and with an eye of our own out looking for lost treasure.