We had just moved. This time we’re doing things right, I thought to myself. No more taking months to decide where to put furniture or living with spaces that weren’t appropriately furnished for our large family. It was time to buy some key pieces that made our family and guests feel comfortable. And that’s how we decided to upgrade our sofa.
Except there was literally nothing wrong with the old sofa set apart from it being too small and having been way too small for our family for quite a few years. So, it went to another room in the house.
My husband and I are extremely compatible in certain areas of our life – sadly, shopping is one of them, lol. You won’t find him sitting on a bench at the outlet mall with my bags while he’s bored playing games on his phone. Nope. We love an afternoon of lunch and window shopping or just talking about what our upcoming project might be. You can often find us putting our fingerprints on home improvement stores as well as furniture and decor stores. We both enjoy a home that feels like a “staycation.” We’re both introverts and, while one of us actually enjoys socializing more than the other, we’re the same in that we like being home. As a couple, we enjoy evenings when the kidlets have said their prayers, grabbed showers, jammied up, and been (mostly) lovingly sent to bed. We will find a good movie to curl up with and snuggle together. If one of my kids is reading this, #sorryNOTsorry.
Because of having seven kids, quiet time in our house is such a small sliver each day. We often have to work hard to embrace that time – to really enjoy it. As a couple, it’s important. But we also have to be realistic.
So when we went shopping for a sofa, we went to what felt like a thousand stores. Did I mention we’re also incredibly indecisive and bounce back and forth between what we want and what we need? I had found the most amazing sofa at one store, but my loving husband did not like it. We eventually came across one store that was tiny by comparison to the others. 95% of the store was living room furniture, so we perused until I found another sofa I liked.
“Meh” was my husband’s response, so we kept looking. SIGH.
Then we found the most amazing sofa. It was BEAT. UP. Yes, it was the floor model, but it was the kind of material that just looks better the older and more worn it is. I LOVED it.
The only rule we had with buying furniture for our house was we had to envision it beat up, scratched, worn down, teeth marks (don’t ask), etc. We had to be OK with that.
Seeing the store model gave me hope. I loved how it looked so worn and weathered. It seemed like the perfect fit for our “hard on furniture” family. So, naturally we went with that sofa. When it arrived, I had to laugh. It was too pretty. It was too smooth and perfect. The cushions were full of life and round. Yeah, we’ll fix that soon enough, I thought, laughing to myself.
And that’s how it’s been for a while now. It’s not smooth anymore – it’s getting character by simply being used (and abused) by our whole family. It wasn’t until I gave this some thought the other day that it really hit me that this is how life is. We aren’t smooth and pretty to look at our whole life.
Life will take its digs at us, and we will become weatherworn, some of us more so than others. But it doesn’t take away from who we are. In fact, it can beautifully enhance who we are.
Who do we listen to as we get older?
People with no experience?
People who are shiny and smooth?
Nope, we often listen to those who have been in the trenches of life. We want to hear their stories because their experiences matter and we want to avoid some common mistakes in life, too. There is significant value in hearing others’ stories – their walk with Christ, the journey that isn’t prone to social media whitewashing – no, their take on life is raw and real. They have something of substance to offer if we’re willing to listen.
I think the attraction to those who have been there before is one that helps ground us – I know this has been true for me. We don’t feel isolated by the events in our lives and we see what it looks like to get through tough times and see that others came out the other side alive, tested, worn down but many times they are filled with a sense of hope for us that we need. Their witness acts as fuel to power us along in those rough times. Oftentimes, we see the thread of joy in their life – that even though times have been rough and tough, they have remained truly joyful in all situations, good and bad.
So, this year as I approach 43, I will not worry about getting older – I will thank God for the opportunity to lose that smoothness and embrace moments that help me become more…just more. I welcome the opportunities to share with my own children that while life isn’t easy, fair, and far from perfect, that it might be a good witness to them in their days as they get older and navigate the Faith through turbulent times.