At Men’s Shed we make a lot from recycled pallets – bird boxes, bird tables, garden furniture… Yesterday Al was making a hedgehog home, Francis was constructing a shelf for his shed, Barrie was finishing a planter…

As usual there was plenty of good-natured banter, ‘helpful advice’. The word for the morning was ‘rustic’…

‘…Is that gap between those two bits of wood because you want the rustic look?’ …My wife won’t have something like this in the house; ‘rustic’ is good enough for outside.’ ‘…That corner isn’t meant to be square. I intended it to look rustic.’

My dictionary describes two aspects to ‘rustic’. Relating to the countryside; made in a plain and simple fashion… My friends were using ‘rustic’ as a euphemism for rough looking, lacking accuracy or aesthetic beauty. Some of the language was pretty rustic too…

When, in our ‘mixed-ability class’, the ‘rustic’ is accepted and acceptable all can be involved, making useful, unique items to the best of their ability. Blue tits don’t insist that their homes are precise and accurate; extra screws and glue make the planter stronger and more robust…


Rustic lives… Men’s Shed continues to remind me that there are many good people about. They may be imperfect and rough round the edges, but they live with compassion and care, looking out for each other, giving with generosity…

Rustic faith… I have a number of friends whose faith in ‘the God of the countryside’ isn’t standard. It’s not ‘one-size-fits-all’, believing the same and acting the same. They may have doubts and fears, incomplete theology, faults and failings, but their faith does the job for them.

Rustic prayers… Often my prayers aren’t precise, smooth or beautiful. This morning I was reading Romans 8. ‘We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.’

Rustic me… I’m unique and imperfect, acceptable and accepted… seeking to be strong, robust and useful.

2 thoughts on “Rustic

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