This morning I was sitting in front of the dressing table trying to squint enough to see to put on my liquid eye liner. The lighting is different than what I am used to, so I was struggling. That and aging eye sight are the culprits. (If one eye seems a little more “dramatic” today, just pretend like you don’t notice.) As I was sitting there, balancing my bum on a stool that is too tall for this piece of furniture, I began to contemplate my situation. I was sitting in front of a borrowed piece of furniture in someone else’s room on a stool that didn’t fit. How did this happen? When did life get so turned upside down? Well, I’ve learned that life is always turning, always. May as well tie the rope of the Holy Spirit tightly around yourself and hang on. But, this particular upheaval was self-inflicted. Next time I tell you I want to renovate a room, kitchen, anything for that matter, would you please talk some sense in to me?! Let me start at the beginning or as close to the beginning as I can remember. We bought our house about eight years ago. It has required a lot from us, from plumbing to updating fixtures, ripping down wall paper, putting in new floors. Not always because we wanted to, but out of necessity. Some were cosmetic and others structural. In this case, it was a little of both. We knew when we bought the house that there was a little damage on a couple of the bedroom walls. We fully intended to fix that within a year or two. Well two turned into three, and three turned into four, and four turned into eight. (How’s that for you math guru’s.) We just couldn’t bring ourselves to commit to the huge project we knew it was going to be. We were too busy enjoying our children and their activities to dedicate much time to a bedroom renovation. Well, as we near a time in our lives where our nest is almost empty, we realize that we will not need all of the space we have before too long. We are looking into the future and the real possibility of selling our home. It has been a good home, spent a lot of good years here, but a changing season is upon us and it’s time to get ready. Anyway, a few days before I was balancing on this stool getting ready for work, we began the daunting process of “gutting” our bedroom. But before the “gutting” could begin, we had to move all the furniture, pictures, everything out of it and find a place for it in another part of the house. (Just give that a try some time when you’re bored and let me know how it goes.) Who knew I had so much stuff in my closet?! I guess I never really look or venture into those deep cavernous ends of the closet that never see the light of day. (I don’t have a walk in closet.) I’ve always wondered why there is a three foot space from where the door opening ends to where the closet ends. What good is it if you can hardly reach it with even with your arm extended? (I just throw the shoes I never wear down in the floor of that part and hope they don’t get swallowed into the abyss.) My sweet husband even took the time to take our daughter’s bed down and put up our bigger bed in her room because we are spoiled and don’t want to sleep on a full bed anymore. (Go ahead and scorn me, I know that is so shallow.) So, after what seemed like performing surgery to fit all the “things” in my room into other rooms of the house, down came our bedroom walls, up came the worn out carpet, and anything that wasn’t living was yanked down and thrown out. We misplaced Tait, our dog, for a few minutes and had a scare that maybe he was wrapped up in the carpet that we tore up off the floor. False alarm, he was on the back porch, sunning. Oh for a dog’s life. It was then that we understood the height and depth and the length of the job we had undertaken.
First, we were so very thankful that there was no mildew behind the walls, so let me just give Praise to the Lord for that! But, otherwise, we were pretty much toast. No insulation in the walls, the floor was a little uneven, new wiring needed to be installed for outlets, there was just so much that needed to be done. Insulation had to be put in, sheet rock had to be hung, outlet boxes screwed in, light fixtures replaced, ceiling repainted, floor had to be made even, and this is where we are now on this morning when I am contemplating my upside down life. (Oh, and let me add here that my husband is on a time schedule and has to return to work in a week. Any of you who have ever done renovations know that it always turns into an even bigger job once you get started. I don’t know why that is, but it is.) So that explains why I am in the room that isn’t mine. Now let me explain about the dressing table. It belongs to my daughter. Well, first it belonged to my granny, she passed eleven years ago. It was a devastating loss to my mom. My mom passed away less than a year ago. It was a devastating loss to me. She was an only child. My granny didn’t have very much, but what she left behind meant so much to my Momma; she was so sentimental. This piece of furniture is worth nothing really, but it means the world to me because it meant the world to her. She gave it to my girl and since it didn’t fit in her small bedroom, I was the lucky one who got to use it. (But, I am very aware that it is not mine. My daughter often reminds me not to get too attached to it.) It’s funny how something of no earthly value at all can mean so much to a person. It’s proof to me that our hearts do not lie with something because it’s worth a lot of money, but rather no amount of money can buy something that has our heart. It’s priceless. The problem is it did not come with a stool or chair. So, I improvised and used a folding chair – “Just temporary,” I would always tell myself. Well, that turned into eight years. (Time really does fly.) Not just any folding chair, a blue, old, metal chair we used to stand on when we painted high places. So it is filled with paint splatters. Sad, huh? Well, it is only temporary. Part of our dilemma is that we can’t find a chair that fits. You know how there is a chair opening in the front of a table like this; well this one is for petite people. Can’t find one and I don’t have the desire to have one made to fit. I will someday, but for now I am graduating from the blue chair (my husband told me it was pitiful) to a stool that is a little too tall, but nicer looking. That is why I am balancing/dangling on it trying to put on my make-up. It’s awkward, but it works well enough. All of this has made me think about how as I grow older I just don’t care as much about the “stuff” in my life. (I know, quite a stretch to go from dangling on a stool to contemplating my life, but my mind wanders like that.) Things just don’t hold the value that they used to. Don’t get me wrong I am excited to have my bedroom redone, but I would be just as happy without it. It doesn’t fulfill the deeper places in my heart. I will have several new things in my bedroom when this is all over, IF it is ever over, but none of it will mean as much to me as that old, not so beautiful dressing table with the mismatching stool. I’m not one to refinish furniture, so the poor thing has little chance of being much prettier anytime soon, but I don’t care, it is one of my prize possessions. (Well, my daughter’s prize possessions.) Every time I see it, I am reminded of my granny, my momma and family; the things that matter most to me. When all is said and done, it will be a beautiful blending of the old and new. Just like my life. Blending the old, the past, with whatever is next for me, the new. I’m praying for a new perspective these days. Looking for new direction, a fresh work in my life. And even if there are tears streaming down my face as I step forward, I will still make that step. Looking ahead and anticipating what God is going to do next. And looking forward to moving into my shiny new bedroom!
A verse that has been on my mind as of late…
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” II Corinthians 4:17-18