Saturday, August 12, 2006

Being = Painting

And I don't mean pictures. I mean baseboards. I know I promised myself to just relax and "be," but in the face of so many things to do, I just couldn't.

Every Saturday morning, we have a workday at our new church building, which usually involves cleaning or small projects. Andy and I try to go if at all possible, especially lately since we'll be (hopefully) moving our services there in just a couple weeks. This is one of those things Andy and I always do together, but I wanted to go this morning even though he is out of town to get started on a project that will ultimately fall on his shoulders: painting the baseboards in our new auditorium.

Andy is a fantastic painter. He's fast, innovative, and meticulous, so it isn't hard to understand why any leftover painting jobs have been assigned to him. However, with so many other things on his plate, he's been putting in a lot of time (read: too much) trying to get everything done.

So I decided to help. I went in this morning with a mission: to get the first coat of primer on the baseboards (which are already mounted, making it much more time consuming to paint). Without going into too much detail, let me explain how this job could possibly take as long as it did. The carpet is already installed, so the floor-baseboard angle had to be taped to avoid painting the carpet. Also, we have wall carpet that extends halfway up the wall (not as weird as it sounds) which is preferably avoided when painting as well. So...that means I had to use a 23 inch edging tool that I slid between the top of the baseboard and the wall carpet in order to get to the very edge of the baseboard without painting the wall... took FOREVER!

This morning, I finished the biggest wall but had to leave to take one of my friends to the airport. So this afternoon, I debated: "I know I said I would just 'be,' but if I don't finish that, it's just more work for Andy, and he already has too much to do." Next thing I knew, I was at the church.

At first I was disappointed in myself. It truly is one of my (more socially acceptable) weaknesses that I will "do" anything before I allow myself to contemplate the thoughts in my head, to process the things that happen in my life. But as I painted, my thoughts slowed, and I began to think about the many people and situations that make up my world. There was no one else there to talk to, and there was no music to distract my ears and mind. It was just me and my thoughts...and the baseboards.

As I neared the end of my task, and my sense of accomplishment grew, I was reminded of the body of Christ. To me, my task was significant and important. To others, the baseboards will likely go unnoticed. In light of all the work thats been done and all the hours and energy sacrificed, my contribution was minimal. But just the same, every part of the body performs its function, and though mine was less than momentous, it was what I could do with what I've been given.

I finally finished at 10:15pm. Usually, I would expect to feel tired or worn out, but tonight, I felt renewed. Maybe it was seeing the result of the work I had done, or perhaps doing something I knew would help my husband. And while those are the tangible evidence of my time spent painting, I am also aware that my goal to just "be" was still accomplished tonight, despite my propensity to avoid it.

I cleaned my paint brush, returned the supplies to their designated place, turned off all the lights, and stood in the dark silence. My heart and mind were still. Je suis.


Lisa said...

are you going to start publishing stuff sometime? (how was I born into a family where everyone loves/is wonderful at writing?)

Richard goes to Hawaii!!! said...

For real...when are you going to start publishing stuff. Not many people can turn a post about painting baseboards into something interesting. That was my prayer for you that you would feel renewed. So I am glad you did- even if it came from an unlikely place.

"Marmie" said...

"Ditto! Ditto," says 'Marmie!' I agree with Little Lisa and Richard .... (I refuse to use lower case on proper nouns!) Your account of what you aspired to, and how the Father accomplished that, with a heart so desirous of good motive, is inspiring, and entertaining. You and Ben need to get together and corroborate to publish something. I have a feeling a couple of other family members could contribute in meaningful and literate ways. Thank you for taking the time to share with us. I so enjoyed reading your account.

runraerun said...

Hey!!! I keep checking to see if you've posted anything else. I can't wait to read about what's going on in your obviously very busy life. Hope to see something soon!!!