The Gift of Restoration

Society today is obsessed with perfection. Turn on the TV or flip open a magazine and you will be presented with countless opportunities to be separated from your hard-earned cash to invest in ways to make your hair thicker, your fingernails stronger, your skin look younger, the sexual endurance of your twenties return… You name it and I imagine there is someone who is trying to put it in a bottle and sell it!

And it isn’t just our bodies people are desperately seeking to restore these days. Millions are spent restoring furniture, homes, marriages, broken childhoods, lost dreams. Restoration can be a wonderful thing. The process of removing layer upon layer of dirt and damage is a wonderfully healing process.

Years ago, we decided to restore our kitchen. After much effort of trying to get contractor bids we could afford, we made the decision to do it ourselves (advice: think very carefully about this!).The process of removing over 70 years worth of built-up plaster, flooring, cabinetry, etc., was a dirty, nasty process. We found five different floors built up underneath our feet, a Rube Goldberg contraption of plumbing that would confuse the most genius of magicians and the telltale clues of old walls and doorways that finally gave some reason to the position of ceiling lights and wall switches.

For months we cooked in the basement on a hot plate and in the microwave. We nailed, sanded, tiled, painted; working day and night to rebuild a dream kitchen that was the vision of what we wanted. We learned the nuances of our home (and more about each other!) as we turned a dream in our mind’s eye into the functional, useful nucleus of our home. When it was complete, we not only had the much-needed new kitchen our lifestyle demanded, but the self-assurance and pride of a job we had put the hard-work and muscle into.

The Gift of Restoration is a special gift. It isn’t the “run out and pay someone” to restore a set of dining room chairs project. It isn’t the freak show face lift of Elsa Patton of Real Housewives of Miami. You cannot buy restoration and you have to know when to say when. Restoration is equally about protecting the core beauty and the original dream as it is about making something bigger, grander or more deluxe; at least it is to to me!

I had the privilege of visiting Rome earlier this year. Walking among the ruins of the Coliseum, the halls of the Vatican and all over the city, you are overwhelmed with remarkable examples of restoration projects of epic proportion. But what is important to note is that they aren’t working to put them back to their original splendor. They aren’t trying to make them better or improve upon them. They are working to protect and preserve these wonderful relics of time.

English: Recent shot of the parthenon, athens,...
English: Recent shot of the parthenon, athens, greece (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Greece, there is an amazing project going on right now called the Acropolis Restoration Project. Archeologists are working to reassemble the Parthenon. It is, in essence, “a 100,000-ton, three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle with 70,000 individual pieces – combining the latest science with the techniques of ancient Greek architects and builders.” This project has been underway for more than 30 years.

What is amazing about this project and the vision Manolis Korres and his colleagues have had for their Gift of Restoration to the world is that they have chosen to only preserve what has survived. They will not use the marble columns and structures they find to approximate the Parthenon’s original state and then adorn it with the sculptures, friezes and art that it likely contained 2,500 years ago. They have chosen, instead, to preserve only what has survived – “a majestic ruin, a witness to what we needlessly destroy, and the beauty and perfection that we can create.”

This year will soon close. As you begin to turn away from the celebrations in the days ahead and begin to focus on the goals and priorities of 2013, I suspect that there are things in your life that require restoration. Dreams lost in the shuffle. Projects pushed to the back burner.

The beauty that you think is lost is not; it is still there. It is just waiting to be restored. Don’t be afraid to give yourself The Gift of Restoration this Christmas. And no, it isn’t about perfection. It is about the beauty inside that beckons to live again!

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