Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Dents & Scratches

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 309: Today, I am grateful dents and scratches. 

Another heart grabbing quote:

"Oh my darling, it's true. Beautiful things have dents and scratches, too."

I am sentimental. The boys all tease me about the books I write in birthday cards. Perhaps, it comes with understanding at a young age what it means to have something to hold when a loved one is gone. A handwritten note is a treasure beyond measure. 

Then, there are things around our home with dents and scratches that many would discard because they are no longer pristine and perfect. I was raised to respect antiques. Old things that have served their purpose and survived to serve another day. These things often have a dents or  scratches that are a part of their story. 

A worn Bible with handwritten notes... one that is falling apart... what a faith legacy it holds between its pages. Tear stained and beautiful. It is a thing of beauty. One of mine ... our first puppy chewed the corner... but it is my college Bible and I love all the memories and class notes it holds between the worn pages... including a class with Dr. C. William Ellwanger. 

I met Dr. Ellwanger when I was waitressing one Thanksgiving(probably in 1983). I didn't know who he was and he had no idea I was a freshman student at ONU. I remembered seeing an older gentleman (I thought sixty-something was old back then) alone at a table for two. I hurt my heart to think of him alone when I knew when I was done, I would return to family chaos. 

I tried to show him extra attention that day. He responded with such kindness, he won my heart. He was my favorite table of the day.The truth is - if he ate alone - it was by choice. I now know that he had a church full of people who would have loved to add an extra plate to their table.  

He started asking questions about me. We laughed to discover the ONU connection. His eyes twinkled. His warmth captivated. He eventually told me that his wife was in Israel. She was doing something special. He was very content at a table for one and his heart was full of Thanksgiving for her and all of his blessings near and far. 

God granted Dr. Ellwanger 95 years along with the wrinkles and thin skin of old age that symbolize a long life. He could never be anything but beautiful to me.  He taught, prayed, studied and acquired a plethora of students who loved him. He radiated the love of Christ.  

Dr. Ellwanger died on my birthday in 2013. 95 years on this earth. He made a life of teaching the Bible with passion and seeking truth between it's pages. He was a gift that grew more treasured with each "dent and scratch"...and wrinkle. 

If we find the courage to live and love boldly, we will gather a few scratches and dents. There may even be times we find ourselves wounded to the deepest places in our souls, but our God is good. He heals us... and transforms how we view our scars. He gives us beauty for ashes. 

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. -Isaiah 61:3

Imperfect... maybe a little broken... but transformed by grace and love. 

Today, I am grateful dents and scratches. 

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