The garage on our homestead was an eyesore as it leaned precariously close to the house. After rescuing keepsakes that had been stored in it for three generations, I knew it was finally time for it to come down. A tractor and chain, a few failed attempts and finally it fell.

Being the treasure hunter that I am, I wanted to save as much of the shiplap wood as possible. The tin roof had been taken off, but three layers of shingles covered the ceiling of the attic that hadn’t seen daylight for over 70 years. I started with the obvious wood and then on a whim decided to see how difficult removing the shingles would be. The claw end of my hammer revealed the most beautiful crimson, milk-paint-coated piece of wood I have ever seen! It was like hunting for Easter eggs and finding Christmas presents! As I searched for the treasures among the piles, I visualized the hands of the men I never met who patiently nailed each in place. I became determined to continue my search until I had saved every piece of this beautiful wood that I could.

No piece was left without scars. From the long, thick nails that secured each board to the short roofing nails that protected them from years of rain and snow, the damage was obvious. Yet somehow every piece was uniquely beautiful. Hours of work and a tetanus shot later, I had compiled a small stack of boards. Instead of being an eyesore, each nail hole brings images of hard labor, weathered hands, and love.

As I stared at these scars, I thought about my own. Three c-section scars are the darkest. Then there is the light white line on my wrist–a scar from a duck that didn’t know it should like getting a bath before being shown at the county fair. The other scars aren’t as visible. The emotional scars of dealing with a belligerent child who screamed nonstop for two weeks as a baby and made me question with every fiber of my body how a mother of two boys could be such a failure with her third. Finding out that a dairy allergy was responsible for the screams and tantrums and feeling like I had lost five years with my son because I had accepted the medical diagnosis of acid reflux without looking for a cause and again feeling like a complete mom-failure. Those wounds have healed as I have learned about food allergies and behaviour issues, but the scars remain.

Maybe God is a treasure hunter, too. Maybe He sees that the more scars there are, the more precious the find. You see, just last month, I ate dinner with an old friend. She has two boys, and one of them is displaying some of the same behaviours I saw with my own. Being unable to solve the riddle of your child is not something women like to admit or even discuss hypothetically. But I had been there, so I offered my experience and suggested she try altering her son’s diet. It may not be the solution, but she has my phone number and knows that she can call whenever she needs someone who understands.

There is another who has nail holes in His hands and feet who understands. Whether the scars are deep and wide or short and protective, He understands our fears and failures and most of all how beautiful rescued scarred pieces are.

Kristi Bose

Kristi Bose teaches English and drama at Southern Valley High School in South Central Nebraska. She and her husband Michael have four boys ages four to fifteen. They live in the country where they raise show pigs, a small cattle herd, and a few goats. She enjoys fishing in the river behind their house, reading, traveling and spending time with her family.