This is the end of my seventh New England winter and I just discovered the discipline of cleaning and waxing boots before storing them away for the summer. The squalls are over and the snow piles melted a few weeks ago, but this chore remains.
Just like all the winters before, I could have put the boots away without caring for them. I could have shoved them to the back of the closet or in the bin under the bed for the next six months, complete with their salt and mud stains. It’s easy to tuck away the dirty boots when the lure of the cute flats and flip-flops calls.
Maybe it’s middle age or maybe I am tired of needing my boots in the fall and finding them unkempt. Maybe it’s both. But what I am learning is that the damage from the long winters of snows and salts just takes time to repair. If I spend the 15 minutes of wiping off the storm residue and rubbing the leathers with oils, the cracks can be minimized. The oils act as a balm and a waterproofer. It’s healing and protective. Much like time spent with Jesus.
When we’ve been hurt by the storms in our lives or damaged by just living in this world, developing the discipline of wiping away the mess and allowing Jesus to soothe our aches is life-giving. Yes, these are just boots I am cleaning up and it seems so basic, but I am at the stage in my life where practicing such a boring sounding discipline is a clear reminder that I need tending to also.
Most of life’s storm scars aren’t as easily healed as my leather boots.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
- words of Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30, The Message Translation
These boots went so long without care that it will take a few passes of oil to truly get them back to their best condition, the same applies to us. It’s rare that one morning spent with Jesus will fix it all, but the coming back again and again, turning to him morning after morning for more healing, more soothing, more protecting.