Being careful not to strip this chair of some of the patina, the scars, the lessons learned.
Dad bought it for me at a church auction when I was 17. What a waste I thought. What am I going to do with this old tiny chair from my preschool Sunday school class? I bet I could have had 3 eight track tapes for the money he spent.
It was an old tiny red chair with lots of scars. The truth is it probably served a few generations before me.
I do remember that classroom though. The tiny little room below the stairs in the church basement. It had brown and tan asbestos tile and it was right next to the boiler room. What a fire trap! It was there that I learned “Jesus Loves Me,” and “This Little Light of Mine.” I am fairly sure the latter involved some white candles and maybe even open flames.
It was shortly after he bought the chair, that I headed off to college to become an architect. I spent an entire career designing buildings according to fire codes, and following rules on asbestos abatement. Specifically, I learned not to put little kids in small basement rooms with one exit next to a boiler room.
Somehow the chair survived for 10 moves and another 40 years. I will credit Rhonda for that one. Our three boys sat on it. Recently my grandkids spotted it in a storage room. It was paint spattered and clearly had been used as a step stool before being largely forgotten. Now each time they come over Bode & Harper want to sit on “grandpa’s chair.”
I decided to clean it up, sand it off, and put a fresh coat of paint on it. In doing so I was careful not to strip it down. I wanted to leave some of those scars, some of that patina, a few of those lessons learned in 60 years.
From where I sit, here are some of those lessons:
When you are 17 your dad is a lot smarter than you.
Sometimes when your wife wants to keep something you think is clutter, listen to her.
Lessons like Jesus does love me and let that light shine. I may have learned a lot about fire codes in a long career as an architect, but some of the most important ones I ever learned were in that church basement. They were the kind of lessons that save you from a long eternity in the fires of hell.
Does anyone know where I could pick up a few more chairs like this? Seriously, I am already one short and I am hoping for more grandchildren.
Luke 18:16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.
Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.