Photo of Cottis family farm table with etchings and renewal

“This table played host to all of these memories.”

The scent of sanded pine fills the air. Fine dust rises in small, gritty clouds as I tackle refinishing my family’s farm table.

My desire of refreshing and renewing the surface of the table was slowly changing from getting rid of the marks to wishing to keep some. As I started to recall the moments spent at the family table, I was surprised by the memories.

I find myself drawn to consider all these marks. Each one is short-hand for a longer and sometimes unexpected memory. And each one has a story attached.

Memories of countless family meals, messy art projects, homework assignments, and dinner with friends all gathered ‘round the table once again. I remember playful teasings, tough decisions we made, soft tears that fell, and our search for answers.

Early on, my young daughter had carved a childish, misspelled phrase into the grain of the wood. Now, with years of wear, it is faded—and missed.

This table played host to all of these memories. No wonder it is left with so many marks and etchings.

So, I pick up my sandpaper block again. With much effort, I painstakingly sand thru the stain down to bare wood. The scent of pine and clouds of fine dust return.

As I sand, I keep recalling so many sweet memories. I don’t want to erase them all, yet a clean table is essential for the gatherings ‘round it that lie ahead.

These memories—sweet and precious and some quite painful—are not lost forever. They are embedded, and I will carry them always. The scars are faint and some have been completely removed, but I remember them still.

I am starting to see this table in a new light.

It’s looking different now, but it’s still our table. The memories are contained within. This table has reminded me of the past but now helps me look to the future. And there is so much to look forward to!

Recently, the team of Omega Espresso Bar has been hosting a sweet young woman named “Elizabeth.”[1.To respect her privacy, we have not revealed “Elizabeth’s” actual name.]

Her story certainly has its own marks and etchings too.

We’ve partnered with a local coffee shop, sponsoring Elizabeth’s work there as a paid intern. The staff there really enjoy working with her, and she has been hired on as a part time staff-person.

Janna and I have the honor of meeting weekly with Elizabeth to mentor her in business and in life. She is lovely, and gives us that “much to look forward to” I mentioned above. She brings her scars and grit along with her sweet spirit and openness.

The knowledge of our marks and etchings is at times difficult. But the renewal that healing brings over time is indeed precious. Elizabeth is making changes that will erase some of her scars. The beauty that comes from the hard work of renewal brings her hope for a new life.

Here is a short note from Elizabeth:

Two years ago I was struggling so badly. I was battling depression, addiction, and an abusive relationship. I was lost, hopeless, and completely broken.

God rescued me and pulled me out of the darkness. Today I am a new creation. I’m clean and sober. I look forward to waking up in the morning and taking on the day.

Working at the coffee shop has been such a blessing to me. It has boosted my self-confidence and taught me accountability. It’s given me purpose and value. My life is so beautiful today.”

Please pray for Elizabeth and Omega Espresso Bar as we gather ‘round this table of etchings and renewal!

Susie Cottis
Omega Espresso Bar