Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lessons from a painted closet

It was an interesting classroom- this closet of mine. I laid on it's floor looking up at the 9 foot walls.

The closet is actually the one in Leisha's old room. It's about to become - not a closet- but my 'office'! I cleaned all the treasures that were still left there. Some are waiting to be put back- some made their way to the attic. Some to Good will or friends! That was a great deal of effort for me already. So now I wondering, "Must I really give it a second coat? Would anyone notice that trim peice not touched up? Do I really care that much?"

It's not a 'normal' closet! It's odd shaped- one long rectangle with a little square tacked on at the far end. When we first moved here- there was one small door by the wall, and when you walked in- there was one long pole running about 6 feet back. And behind that was what used to be a window to the original house. They had boarded it up- but with the 3 brick layers of the original house- we now had an indention that made a great bookshelf. It's just behind the clothes. So when we moved in, we opened up the wall so we could actually get to most of the clothes- painted it all white and added a closet system that allowed us to use the book shelf too- for storage. Never did add any doors though.

But now that we don't need quite as much storage with Leisha gone and the girls at school, a friend suggested we decided to turn it into a mini office. I wondered about it at first- but as the room has progressed in design, I realized I wanted to be there- not to use the room as an office, but with my desk in the closet- the room could still be all we wanted it to be- and I could enjoy it.

I painted it "Light Raffia"- tan, in other words. The book case is "Del Coronado Tequila"- don't you love the name. It's Cream, basically, with the trim in the closet white. But it works well with our green walls in the room-and it will also be the colors of the bead board ceiling in the room.

So what does all this have to do with the lessons I've learned.
Well you see, when you are painting a closet- you are tempted to cheat a little. Once you get the clothes in and the 'stuff' stored- who's gonna know you didn't do the second coat- or touched up around the trim, or even painted the ceiling. The walls are uneven- gobbled in some places by owners long before us. Who cares! It really doesn't impact anyone-

but me!

I'll know!
Especially since it's no longer just a closet but my space. I'll always see it. I'll always notice because it will haunt me every time I walk in there. I know, because I have other places in my house that continue to taunt me for attention! Why didn't I just take care of that to begin with?

My life is like that right now. I'm in the process of trying to 'clean out some closets' in my emotional life. Places where clutter has gathered; Cob webs have grown; Dust bunnys run wildly; Or perhaps rust has begun and the damage is almost irrepairable. I know I have to dig into these places of my heart because everytime I try to take a step forward, some part of my 'closet' haunts me and pulls me back into the comfort of my ache. It does seem to become comfort after a while, even though it is painful. It's what I know! It's what I've learned to live with. OUT THERE I don't know what I'll find. I don't know if I'll be hurt again! I don't know if I'll be rejected again! I don't know if I'll experience loss again. So I stay in my closet!

But not today! Today, I've begun agian the process of clearing out some of the clutter. I'm identifying where I'm angry and how it's affecting me. I'm looking at where I need to take care of me, BEFORE I take care of others- and not be selfish in doing it. I'm experiencing a freedom that comes from facing the next hard thing- and seeing God big enough to handle that too!

And that means painting the parts of the closet know one sees but me. My dad used to tell me that character was who we are when no one was watching. So when no one will know but me, Am I willing to clean & paint the parts of me that know one ever sees. Am I willing to be 'underneath it all' who I try to be on the outside?

I want to be! I want to be cleaned out and painted thoroughly. I know there's a lot of work yet to do. But the Lord is graciously, gently making me aware of the things in life that have yet to be said, to be done!

So...I'm going back in - for another coat of paint! How about you?


  1. LOVE this! You are an excellent writer...such a way with words that convey the emotion. Thanks for this.

  2. Thank you! I've also done alot of 'cleaning' out of emotions and skeletons in my soul & spirit in the last couple years. Things just kind of built up over several years; many major life changes that aren't supposed to happen to christians, etc. Today, I am a totally different person than I was 3 yrs ago. The 'open wounds' are now healed (for the most part) and are scars. They remind me of all the troubles of past times, but also how good God has been to me through it all, and faithful in His love & nurturing. After all is said & done, I can say "I've earned these battle scars!" peggy