“Siri, tell me where the coolest Starbucks in Dallas is.”
She gave me ideas for a few, but this one – this one looked special. I read a couple of articles about its unique interior design, about its rooftop garden. So when I walked in, I looked around before I ordered my coffee (yeah…crazy).
Long, black iron community table with tall iron chairs. Leather wingbacks and plush wall-installed sofas. Blown-glass chandeliers.
As a Starbucks-vibe connoisseur (the coffee is ok, but the Starbucks vibe? Oh yes, take me every day. To me, finding a new Starbucks feels like Christmas)…I was absolutely impressed. But what I loved the most was the shiplap-esque wall, and the gorgeous repurposed wood hanging artfully and beautifully from the ceiling, creatively covering up the air ducts.
Stunning. Absolutely stunning. It took my breath away. Did you ever just see something so beautiful that you felt like you almost couldn’t breathe? It hits different people in different ways by different means…for some it’s architecture, for some it’s flowers, for some it’s Picasso (you’re weird if this is you, but that’s ok, I like weird people).
For me, it’s something like this wood in this Starbucks…something that for some reason makes my heart ache with a feeling of home, but like a home that isn’t here, that isn’t normal. This wood isn’t on a fence or the floor; it’s hanging from the ceiling, and somehow this makes me ache that ache of eternity that C.S. Lewis talks about. “…the most probable explanation is you were made for another world.”
I couldn’t put my finger on why I was feeling this way, so I thought about it for a while. I had read that the wood in this Starbucks had come from old homes in the area that had been torn down. The original purpose of these slats and boards was to house people, to create spaces for families and friends to be together.
The intent behind why these boards were cut and crafted was clear. In the place of their original use, there was no question as to whether not they were useful or valuable.
But then, for reasons we’ll never know, the time for these houses to be houses…ended. And the wood was torn from its purpose.
I don’t know about you, but I have felt like this wood – and it hasn’t been fun. I was good at something. I was stable in my purpose and had no question that it was useful and valuable. But then…everything changed.
Suddenly God said, “It’s time to move,” and He ripped the beam of my life away from the stability of the known and I have wondered ever since, “God…what now?”
Maybe this is why my soul aches when I look at the wood in this Starbucks.
It’s not holding together homes anymore. Logically, it looks like its practical use is finished. It would seem that its season of purpose is done. But if we look at this through the eyes of normal, through the eyes of logic, oh we are seeing it ALL WRONG.
Here in this place, hanging impractically from the ceiling, all of the beauty of this wood is on display. The nicks and cracks, the seams and the natural grain, they are all exposed…and it’s stunning. People like me walk into this Starbucks and look up, and while we don’t see something utilitarian, we do see something that, if even just for a moment, takes our breath away.
This wood has been re-purposed.
When these homes were torn down, I’m sure it looked like this wood’s inherent purpose had been snatched away…and for a while, maybe it was. But even as the homes the wood was created for were being razed, an artist somewhere had this brilliant idea of a way to make the ceiling of a Starbucks look beautiful. And maybe, just maybe, for someone having a hard day or needing an extra boost, that little corner of beauty has ended up healing a little corner of a broken heart.
I can’t think of many things more purposeful than that, can you?
For me, this offers hope. In some ways, I feel like my house has been torn down and I’m just waiting here on the ground hoping that soon I’ll be picked up and re-purposed. And you know what…I’m certain I will be.
Why? Because there’s this great Artist who has seen me all these years. He’s proud of the work I have done. But He’s also saying, “I have something more for you. I have plans to reveal all of your beauty, even the beauty of your nicks and cracks and nail holes. This repurposing will be better than you can imagine, and it will be far outside the ordinary.”
What about you? Do you need a new outlook on life? Perhaps you, dear reader, have found yourself torn down and on the ground, too. Don’t give up. Don’t be discouraged. For believe me, even when things look bleak (and sometimes especially then)…the Artist has a plan for you.
But this time, you might find that your purpose is outside of the ordinary. Perhaps this time it is not just for your good, but also for the good and healing of a broken heart in someone else who really just needs to see that seemingly useless beauty inside of you…which really isn’t useless at all. It’s everything. It’s Christ in You…the hope of glory…
I’m ready to be repurposed. Are you?
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21, NIV
The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. Proverbs 20:5
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28, NIV