“Look up.” That was the message I was clearly given on a very early, October, morning as I sat at my desk writing. I did as instructed and saw that the cathedral ceiling was, literally, falling down!
Fast forward to the second week in December. Over the past eight weeks, the library had to be completely emptied for a new ceiling to be installed, which led to adding crown molding and ceiling fans (since the room was already ripped up), which necessitated Larry priming and painting the new ceiling and all the walls.
Since we had so much chaos already going on, we figured we’d replace the baseboard heating unit and the window trim. Then, in a stroke of pure genius, I decided that since everything else is being done, I might as well finally finish the trim on the bookcases.
“Finally finish the trim on the bookcases” took about four seconds to say, and at least 40 hours to accomplish!
random side note:
Larry, God bless him, actually supports my “we need to create an enriching, Zen-like space in order to create outer peace, to facilitate inner peace” mind-set, even when it’s a bit over the top.
It turns out that working with molding has a lot in common with how we work on ourselves.
I sanded the rough wood; we “sand down” our rough areas too.
Then it had to be primed; we apply “primer” to help with challenging situations—sometimes that’s a pep talk, a reality-check, a glass of wine or a deep breath.
After that, I sanded again and painted. The paint is the “public face” we present to the world—whether that’s perfect makeup, tattoos, or an amazing (or shocking) outfit.
Each of the 38 pieces of trim were cut separately in the shop downstairs and, often, taken back for “tweaking”. If a piece wasn’t “right”, I’d trim a little more off to make it fit perfectly. How often do we “trim back” part of ourselves so that we fit in?
The final steps—attaching each piece to the bookcase—required:
First, drilling pilot holes. We, sometimes take baby steps, initially, to make the more difficult paths easier to navigate.
Next, securing the trim with finishing nails. With the less-than-perfectly-straight, vertical pieces, I’d push with my foot, so that I could nail it into place (It was comical). How often do we “force ourselves into place”, when what we really want is to be less-than-rigid?
Finally, I set the nails, hid the tiny holes with wood filler, sanded the area, and then touched up with paint. We try to hide our “imperfections” too. Like the holes in the wood, they’re still there; we’ve simply covered them over.
essential side note:
Since we’re most impressionable when we’re children, a lot of the covering over may have been done so long ago that we don’t even remember it. So, whether you were raised up believing that you’re like a flawless piece of mahogany or a piece of common pine, remember that all of your experiences have profoundly impacted who you are today.
When I brought the shelves back up, I put the “less than perfect ones” where they wouldn’t be easily seen. We hide in back corners—sometimes literally, often figuratively—don’t’ we? We afraid to show our less-than-perfect selves too often, because “what if someone realizes that we aren’t who we appeared to be at first glance?”
Yesterday, I started bringing back the over 200 books (yep, counted them) that live there, considering each one before it goes back on a shelf. Editing out what’s superfluous and takes away from—rather than adds to—our lives helps create a peace-full home.
Often we’re like those bookcases. They may look great and hold beautiful items, but most people aren’t seeing our less-than-perfect pine boards, or the scars or holes or patched areas. They’re only seeing what we show them.
God sees all of it. God sees all of us—the beautiful and the ugly, the flawless and the patched, the pristine façade and the hidden corners. And, God loves all of us. Maybe we should aspire to love all of ourselves too.
final side note:
when the light hits just right, you can see some of my less-than-perfect hole filling. My immediate, gut reaction was to go back and do it again. I think I’ll live with it, however. I’m certainly not perfect, why should my bookcases be?
With love for all of our wonderful imperfections,