As I looked down at my many broken nails, I realised how I have grown accustomed to their brokenness. I think back to the early days of working in an Early Years Classroom and coming to the realisation that my hands would never be the same again. My skin would always become cracked from the constant washing away of germs, paint, sand, tears and many other substances. My nails would always break as a result of doing a job that is anything other than tapping away at a keyboard all day long. As I silently acknowledged my resignation to the state of my hands and nails again in this moment of washing away the residual dirt from the day, resolving to cut back the brokenness and paint them to add a little colour, this question came to mind: 'how do I live a restorative life?'
I bring restoration to my hands through innumerable applications of hand cream throughout my day; through cutting back these nails that will never be long, not allowing the brokenness to stay. But what about the rest of me? It's not jut nails that need to be restored. And I realised afresh. It is in all the small things that I see God and am restored, physically, spiritually and emotionally, little bit by little bit.
Restoration comes through enjoying the skies that proclaim God's handiwork. Over and over again. When glorious light is beaming and streaming, I cannot help but try and capture a little of the beauty, raising my camera to my eye to take yet another photo of the ever changing skies, breathing deep at the beauty of it all. Because time and again, beauty prevails over brokenness.
Restoration comes through holding my precious friend's newborn daughter, looking in awe at her perfectly formed little body, remembering that life is so very precious. Just as the focus of raising a new born is initially solely focused on providing food, warmth and boundless love, these things remain forms of restoration throughout our lives.
I am restored as I sing my heart out to the Lord again and again. I am no great singer, but something restorative happens in my heart and soul as I sing truth in a way that speaking alone does not do. It's going to gospel choir week in, week out, and never failing to delight in the resonant sound of a chorus of voices singing with all of their might. It's singing with all of my heart and might in my car where no-one except God can hear me. It's lifting up my voice in praise and wonder at Church, along with hundreds of other hearts doing the same and being restored as we fix our hearts on God's beauty.