Monday, April 9, 2012

Paint: A fresh coat of lies.

 Anya, my daughter has been  wanting to have her room updated for a long time now. We moved into a furnished house when we moved to Nassau and we are grateful for that, however as we ourselves did not pick out the furnishings it lacks, how you say, a MacPhail touch. So since my parents were in town for two weeks and Anya was off school. We decided this weekend was the time to begin the transformation of Anya's room, into something she could call her own. We decided to proceed with the biggest decor impact on the room and paint.

I love painting, I mean I really love painting. It feels so fresh and clean like a new start for a room. The idea and the process of painting is somewhat transformative. Bringing something new and exciting to something old,worn and tired.  I am not sure why I have waited until now, almost two years into our life here in Nassau to paint, whatever the reason for my delay, my excitement was palpable. Excited to hold a paint brush for the first time in at least 3 years, we got started.

Anya's room is fairly small, with two large windows and a large closet, making painting very quick work.  Anya, my dad and I finished the room in just over an hour. With the first coat applied, we stood back and admired.  The colour was beautiful, and the room even without decorative touches and furniture was showing a bold new personality. But. time forces even the most impatient person, me, to wait. Nothing could be done until the first coat was dry. Determining that the next coat, if needed was to be put on the wall the next day, I closed the door of Anya's room and left the drying process alone.  Every few hours I would peek in, and admire. My fresh paint bliss however did not last long. Every time I went in to inspect and admire the room, I would notice a new imperfection. I choose not to be discouraged and determined that a second coat would fix all the things wrong with the walls.

The second coat of paint was applied, and the imperfections noted the day before were covered. The room looked amazing! Again, the drying period was imposed and we waited, busily planning how to arrange furniture and items belonging in Anya's room. Later I went back in for the final inspection, standing back the room looked amazing! The colour was perfect and Anya was thrilled. Excellent job I said to everyone, we all nodded and went to work  moving furniture.  As I moved closer to the walls my eyes would catch the occasional imperfection. Choosing not to dwell on it, as I had no more paint anyway, I tried to put the lack of perfection out of my mind. but just as I was able to do so with one wall, the next wall  would expose yet another mark of imperfection to me. I begin to get a irritated, how could a room go from perfect to less than just but getting  a closer look? Determined to not let this bother me too much I began to see if I could place furniture in front of the offensive marks as a way to hide it. Most I could, some I could not.I then started planning how to hang pictures in such a way as to disguise my flawed walls.

Now it is the day after and while there is still some work left to do, Anya's room is almost done. I have had some time to think about my frustrations with the  walls. It was not the painting, necessarily that was flawed it was the walls. The walls themselves had damage unseen to us before we painted. Painting just exposed it to the naked eye. Paint will only cover things, it cannot repair things.  A fresh coat of paint, has no restorative qualities it merely masks things it is put on. In one sense, painting lies.It tells us that an outside of something once changed, changes everything. that is simply not true. In order to truly change something we need the inside, the basic make up, the very foundation of something to be change. Then and only then can a lasting true change can be effected.

I confess, and I know I am not alone, that when I need a change, when I try to hide my imperfections from myself and from others, it is the outside I try to change first. I change my style, my diet, my exercise routine or other habits in my  life. All of these might be a good thing, but if I were to be completely honest, they do nothing but mask my inner imperfections, my deep insecurities and my longing to be more than I am. Paint lies, diet lies, clothing lies.

I am so thankful that God, the God who created me and has a purpose for me, already knows of my imperfections. I am so thankful that no matter how hard I try to deny or hide my flaws, God loves me with them and that if he desires them changed in my life, He has the power to change my very foundation. God alone is the transformative agent in my life, not my clothes, not my habits not my diet.

I will continue to paint, I love it. But I will be more patient and forgiving with the outcome. I will continue to exercise, eat right (most times) and aim for better ways to be in this world, but I will not depend upon those externals to change me, I will seek God and God alone to make the foundation of who I am what He desires.

So friends, paint on but do not expect your paint to shine on for ever. Let your very heart, your very being , the way God made you to be, let that part of you be your brilliant shine!