Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Restoring an Old Classic

My father-in-law owns a 1970 Ford Mustang that he is slowly, but surely, restoring back to it’s original glory. It has spent some years in pieces in his garage. It has also spent time under a cover in his driveway. There were also some years when it spent too much time in his friend’s back yard surrounded by overgrown weeds and grass with a primary purpose as a haven for black widow spiders.

Dad has big plans and dreams for this car. It is currently an automatic transmission, but he would like to add “four in the floor” someday. The car, right now, is undriveable not because the engine doesn’t work (it does) but because Dad has taken the dashboard out so that he could replace it with a newer, cleaner one. Truth is, this “classic” car would probably be much closer to restoration if someone hadn’t had to pay for a wedding a few years back or if someone hadn’t been so distracted by a new grandson the last couple of years. My father-in-law takes great pride in that car and will finish restoring it someday because he has invested his time and his money into it.

I have always been impressed by people who take the time to restore cars, homes, antiques or whatever happens to be old or broken down. We like to watch home improvement shows on HGTV or TLC’s What Not to Wear because we get to see the old made new again. ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover is a smash hit television show because homes that were once broken down are made new for the much deserving residents. That show has changed it’s format a bit over the years. It used to be that the show was primarily about the tension and the struggle and the hard work that happened over the course of the makeover.

But isn’t that what restoration is all about? Don’t things have greater value for us when they have been restored? It might be less work for my father-in-law to have someone else do the work on his “classic” car, but it would mean less because he didn’t get the joy of restoring it himself. Restoration is a ton of work, and a lot of times, it isn’t fun, and forces us to do things that may be hard for us to do.

Especially when it comes to the work of restoring old and broken down relationships with one another. The easy thing to do (it seems, in our minds) is to just move on to the next relationship. Because, maybe, just maybe, if there is restoration needed in a relationship it is because something within ourselves is broken. It is too uncomfortable to have to change ourselves. We would rather watch a reality show where someone else is getting fixed than work on our own issues that led to the breakdown of the relationship

Think about it though. Restoring a relationship, any relationship (a marriage, a friendship, someone you work with, someone you disagree with), takes a lot of time to fully restore. It requires the extremely difficult work of selflessness. It forces you to deal with the issues someone else may have with you. It takes up too much time and emotional resources. It drains us, and causes to question if it is really worth it. In the end, I think we have all benefited from going through hard times with someone else. In the end, many of us have a relationship that we can point to that was restored and now has more value to us than any relationship we may have previously had. A relationship that has been fully restored ends up stronger than it was before.

In fact, a restored relationship becomes a Classic. Kind of like that old 1970 Mustang sitting in Dad’s garage.

No comments:

Post a Comment