I bought it for $30 from a thrift store. It might be among my most prized possessions, as it's where so much of my second-half of life has been born. It's my throne, my place, my comfort, my locale.
It's my man-chair.
In 2010, after moving back to the States from the foreign mission field and attending graduate school for counseling, we moved to Colorado with the intent to start Restoration Project. It was a hair-brained, half-baked, and risky idea dreamt up with my best friend over a bottle of scotch and a kayak. Something within us ached for more -- more for men, more for me, more for all of us who hope for the goodness of God in the land of the living. We moved to Colorado with a dream to create the world we longed to live in. All of this is good and fine and wonderful, until the practical brass tacks stare you in the face, and you have to make something happen.
Our home in Northern Colorado has a shed underneath the back deck. The previous owners used it to store shed-like things: shovels, rakes, lawnmowers, and trimmers. And while I entertained the idea of shed-conformity for a season, my highly interruptive young family drove me to renovate the shed into a make-shift man cave in order to escape the chaos and hopefully get something done. It would become what I called the "studio," a place to write and create and imagine what Restoration Project could be and would become. It was brilliant, yet lacked one very important feature. A man-chair.
But man-chairs are hard to find, and can cost as much as a house. And so I went on the hunt, patient to wait until the throne made for me surfaced on Facebook marketplace, and I pounced. I drove 45 minutes to the neighboring town to a small back-alley thrift store to discover a large well-worn leather chair and ottoman, perfect for my studio. Too big for both pieces to fit into my car, I spent the good part of an afternoon driving back and forth to retrieve it. And the best part...it was $30.
That chair has accompanied me on every step of the Restoration Project journey. It was there when I signed the non-profit status forms for the IRS. It was there when we architected our first fathering expedition. It was there when we expanded our board and began to dream about expanding our staff beyond just me. It was there when I wrote Man Maker Project, and it was there when devastating news set us back.
It's been in that chair that Jesus has met me and spoken to me his words of love, affirmation, and affection. It's been in that chair that I've passed many sleepless nights, wondering how we were going to make it and if this was even a viable idea. It's been in that chair that I've had gloriously life-altering conversations, as well as painfully shattering ones. It's from that chair that I am honored to enter the stories of those I counsel, and from that chair that I interview fathering experts for RP's online membership community called "No Regrets."
Now, 11 years later, it's still there. And while the face of Restoration Project continues to grow and mature and expand, and our staff multiply and our impact increases across the country, that chair remains the epicenter of it all. Many years ago it moved out of the studio and into our living room, then into our bedroom and back down to the basement. The shed is once again a shed, but the chair remains.
It's the best $30 I've ever spent. It is the birthplace of Restoration Project, and deserves to be honored for all it's held.
What stories does your chair (or couch, dining room table, etc) hold?