Prayer Bench

Shortly after we purchased our farm, our dearest friends came for a visit.  These are the kind of friends that make things in your life “real”, as if events or places don’t exist until they are a part of them.

Just prior to their visit, I’d discovered a little alcove in some trees that reminded me of a little temple.  Knowing the husbands would want to be busy and do “guy stuff” like building and tearing things down, I asked my friend, Dave, if he could make me a little bench for this spot.  It was the ideal place to  pray, meditate and just breathe deeply.

There is a reason I didn’t ask my wonderful husband to build the bench.  He’s an engineer.  He would have built the PERFECT bench, measured exactly (twice) , precisely cut (once) , evenly painted, and durable for all time.  Dave is NOT an engineer, and I knew he’d create from his heart and not his head.  This bench needed to be rugged and raw, just like the prayers that would be prayed there.

Dave was delighted to have busy hands and a purpose, and immediately set to work.  He scoured the old barn for blocks, boards and bricks…anything he could use to create my sacred space.  He worked for hours, lugging materials to the bottom of the hill and piecing together the bench only he could imagine.

I was delighted.  I was grateful.  I was so excited to have a piece of them right here on our land…  Something he created with his own two hands, and his heart.

But as Terri and I sat in the gazebo up the hill and watched him build, she became more and more agitated.  I couldn’t figure out the issue until she finally exploded and said “It’s so UGLY!  It’s crooked, and uneven and looks awful!  Didn’t you want a REAL bench?  Why can’t he just go to Lowe’s and put together a pretty one??”  I couldn’t stop laughing.

Our friends had spent several years in Japan while serving in the Air Force.  Dave had always been fascinated by the Japanese culture and one key lesson he learned while over there was make do with what you have.  Use what you have to create what you want.  

The fact that the bench WAS crooked and uneven was exactly why I love it, and why I’d asked him to build it.  It was created with love, ingenuity and with materials he discovered while digging in the old barn.

This bench as become my sacred space over the years.  It’s where I go first when my heart is elated, and also when my heart is broken.  I’ve prayed and cried and meditated and loved fiercely while sitting on that bench.  I’ve sat on that bench during both literal and figurative storms in my life.  The bench is rugged and raw, just like my prayers.

That bench not only reminds me of my friend’s love, but also of the lesson it carries. 

We have all we need to make what we want.

 Within each of us, we have the strength, courage, determination, creativity, faith to uncover our hidden supplies and create something beautiful.   There is no need for us to rush out and build something that thousands of others will have.  Rather, we can find our own supplies, use our own tools, and build our own imperfect, one-of-a-kind lives from what we already have.   We may have to scour, finagle and adjust things a bit, but we WILL be able to put the pieces together.  Perfectly, and just as they belong.  Rugged and raw, just like life itself. 

You’ve got what you need.  You’ve always had it.  Dig deep and build.

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