Feeling Old?

The long planter holding a small collection of sedums at the edge of the patio really isn’t all that old. It was hand-crafted from portland cement, peat moss and sand about five years ago.

The pitted, aged appearance is deceiving. It comes from the holes and crevices left behind as the chunks of peat moss decayed and disappeared.

The process, known as hypertufa, was developed to mimic tufa found in nature as limestone formations develop from calcium-rich water such as a spring.

My planting trough has not only aged, it has started falling apart. The corners on one end developed a crack. Normally, hypertufa is very strong when made right, but I was a novice and didn’t reinforce the huge piece.

The sedums don’t seem to mind much, as they don’t require much water. In spite of the obvious flaw, I’m still pretty pleased with this piece. The broken end seems to add to the overall appearance of age and wear.

Garden art isn’t the only medium in which an older appearance is sought after. I never understood why my teenagers wanted to wear jeans with worn spots and holes in them, much less spend money on “new” ones that looked worn!

Then there is the “shabby chic” trend in home decorating. My husband restored an old Hoosier kitchen cabinet, and we considered a chalk paint treatment that would make it look old and worn.

We did opt out of that one, since I just couldn’t get myself to take an old, worn cabinet and make it look old and worn. Plus, all my artistic efforts are confined to the garden; interior decorating is beyond my areas of expertise!

The Scriptures point us to the “old paths.” Going back to the first century A.D. to restore God’s plan for our work and worship is the sure way to get it right. Many “reformers” have come and gone down through the ages since the Bible was written, but reforming something flawed is not the same as restoring it to the original condition.

“Thus says the Lord,
‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,
Where the good way is, and walk in it;
And you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, “We will not walk in it.”

‘And I set watchmen over you, saying,
“Listen to the sound of the trumpet!”
But they said, “We will not listen.”

‘Therefore hear, O nations,
And know, O congregation, what is among them.

‘Hear, O earth: behold, I am bringing disaster on this people,
The fruit of their plans,
Because they have not listened to My words,
And as for My law, they have rejected it also.

‘For what purpose does frankincense come to Me from Sheba
And the sweet cane from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable
And your sacrifices are not pleasing to Me’” (Jeremiah 6:16-20, NASB).

These people who were rebuked so harshly were not without religion. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices just weren’t acceptable to the Lord.

“We will not listen” (verse 17) might not come out of our mouths, per se. We might want to “improve” on God’s plans by adding innovations that were not authorized. If it pleases us, and brings in people who like these innovations, shouldn’t God be pleased as well?

Well, no; not according to God (Proverbs 30:6).

In reality, when we follow our own way instead of the “old paths” of Scripture, we may as well be saying “We will not listen.”

Listen up, and seek the old.

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