The Old China Hutch

My Fathers Hands

The China Hutch in the closet

My Father’s Hands

There was an old china hutch in my closet. My Dad made it for me many years ago.

I dragged that hutch with me through many moves over many years. It grew ragged over time but I could not bear to part with it.

The door was broken, the back was no longer attached and the once beautiful finish was marked with scratches and grooves. It had definitely seen better days.

I could never bring myself to get the old hutch out of the closet and bring it back to life. Somehow it was easier to close the closet door and let it rest along with my memories of Dad.

But one day the hutch beckoned me. I opened the closet door, dragged the hutch to my workroom and started to work on it. I don’t know why, I just knew I had to do it.

That first swipe of the sandpaper was the most difficult, what if, as I sanded the old finish off my memories disappeared also?

It was after that first difficult step that the magic started happening. I sanded off layers of paint and with each layer that was sanded I was given the most precious gifts I have ever received.

I remember thinking to myself through the tears, my hands are working the same wood that you did Dad. I learned much about my Dad as I worked on the old hutch. Memories that had faded to dull gray were suddenly alive in vibrant hues.

I could see on the inside of the hutch where my Dad had experimented with the stain. There was dark stain, light natural stain and everything in between. In the end he went with something in the middle. That was just like I remember him, not to flashy but not content to fade into the woodwork either.

There was plenty of wood glue on the old hutch. He wanted it to be solid and to hold up to whatever it was called upon to hold. That was so like my Dad. Strong, steady and able to handle whatever was called for.

The hutch was of a plain design, there was only one thing he added that could be called a decoration. There again, that was my Dad, nothing fancy, but strong, steady and very functional.

I found funny little modifications where he had rigged unconventional fixes when the door wouldn’t shut right or the hinge wouldn’t work like he wanted. He was an old farmer after all, if it took wire and twine to get it to work, well so be it.

I learned that he didn’t care much for the prep work like sanding, he wanted to get right to the nuts and bolts of building it and fitting it together in just the right way. There were drops of wayward stain and dollops of wood glue that went unnoticed. It reminded me that what is on the outside is not the most important, it is what is inside that matters. That was my Dad, work clothes, not always pretty work clothes but he had the heart to do what he needed to do in those work clothes. Rough around the edges but a heart that loved to please his family.

I remember when he broke the glass in the door of the hutch when he was putting it together. He would be proud to know that the door of the old hutch continued to be a problem. I asked my husband Earl to help me put new glass in the top of the door and some fancy tin in the bottom. It was beautiful, just like I had envisioned. It was going so well right up to the time I tried to attach the door to the hutch and the only way it would fit was upside down. I don’t know how I did it but we put the glass where the tin went and the tin where the glass went. It looked great but it was upside down and opened on the wrong side! In honor of Dad, I am leaving it that way. So Dad, the door got me too! Like Father, like Daughter. I can just hear him chuckling up in heaven and saying Oh Sis…..you never could tell directions.

I always worried that if I altered the looks of the old hutch my memories would disappear or somehow be altered also, so I just put it in the closet and shut the door.

I was wrong.

As I finish breathing new life into the old hutch I am refilled and refreshed with precious memories and with the values, love and morals my Dad instilled in his children. I am putting the newly redone old hutch in a place of honor in the living room. It is coming out of the closet for good. Every time I see it I think of all he taught me as we worked on the old hutch together. Thanks Dad!

Dottie

…………and so I ride

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Waylaid by Grief

August 14, 2014 I lost my Dad and August 24, 2015 I lost my daughter in law. The one thing I have learned over this incredibly hard year is that grief is not “one size fits all”. People expect you to grieve a certain way and on a certain time frame and without exception I have found that doesn’t happen. People may tell you they know how you feel but they don’t.
Your pain, your grief and your hurting heart are exclusively yours. The process may be similar but your process belongs to you only. The pain is inescapable and oftentimes it feels like much more than we can handle.
The emotions are incredible, deep and quite honestly confusing. I am a woman, I am used to emotion, but this many and all at once are overwhelming and painful. At times it feels like an emotional ambush and there is nowhere to hide.
I still find it hard to believe that I have had my last visit with my loved ones, that there will be no more heart to heart talks, no more shared meals and the hardest part is our favorite holidays will never be the same.
I am not ready to say goodbye. I want to say I love you one more time and I want to hear it back.
I have found great solace in Psalm 10:14a. The scripture assures me that God sees our trouble and grief and takes it into hand.
Although grief and sadness are hard to walk through I do believe that they are necessary and we should not suppress this natural process but rather seek God’s help to walk with us.
Loss is going to be a part of our lives and grief is the natural response to loss. Matthew 11:28 is so relevant. Although grief is a normal process it is a heavy burden at times. Jesus says “come to Him all who are weary and burdened, and He will give us rest.”
So how do we handle this mind numbing pain called grief in a way that still glorifies God?
DON”T GO AWAY MAD
I love God with my whole heart and soul, but it is very hard to come up with a reason that our family has had such tremendous loss in a relatively short time. That makes it hard not to be just a little bit angry at God. I have to take great care to make sure that does not happen because in my opinion that would be aiming my anger at my biggest ally and not the enemy.
DON’T DWELL ON THE QUESTION…………..WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN?
Whether expected or not death hurts. The death of our loved one may have surprised us but it did not surprise God. God has absolute sovereignty over all life and death. He has ordered every single last detail over everything, even death.
DON”T HIDE
Run to Him who knows you like no one else and loves you as no other. Run to where comfort can be found. You will only find real and lasting comfort in our Lord.
AVOID SATANS TRAPS
When your heart is breaking and you are blinded by mind numbing grief, don’t let sorrow blind you to temptation. Satan will use this time to cast doubt on God’s goodness and love. Deny the feelings of doubt, self-pity, bitterness, anger and run to God for strength.
Live thankful that even in the darkness we will find God’s presence and His love. Look beyond this moment and take comfort in the fact that, as Christians, someday the grief will end and your eternity is with God.
So I will grieve, I will grieve in my own personal way but I will grieve with hope.

Dottie
……………………and so I ride

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