Tuesdevo: What the Old Window Is Teaching Me

“You want something and do not have it…”  “You covet something and you cannot obtain it …” James 4:2

I’ve always wanted to paint an upright piano.” The words strike fear into the core of my being! I suppose if you are going to do it there is a right way and a wrong way. The blog link tells you how to do it. But, for those who don’t have the time to go to the link, here is the telling sentence:

It’s hard to find a good candidate because most upright pianos I’ve seen are really nice and ones that I would hesitate to paint because of it.” You wouldn’t paint a “nice piano”!

I live in a home where the natural woodwork is decorative, dark, and quite beautiful except for one thing: It has been painted white. My wife’s recent ancestors wanted the home to be bright, and so almost every inch of woodwork – baseboards, window sills, arches, bannister – have been painted white. In some instances they were painted green first, and then painted white later on. The window sills have had nails pounded into them and screws drilled into them multiple times and in multiple locations. But the holes were covered over with white paint. I don’t know what happened to the window sill in the bathroom, but it looks like a battle field from a major war. Perhaps the moisture from the thousands of baths and showers that have been had over the decades made the wood particularly vulnerable to wear. What I have discovered is the paint on that sill was used to cover a multitude of sins.

We have begun the long, arduous, and at times expensive process of removing the paint and reclaiming the more natural wood. When you paint over varnish and then paint on that paint two, three and four times over, after a while things begin to look … well, it looks like you are trying to hide something.

There is no way we can get all the paint out of all the holes; someone told us that will be part of the charm. Is sin ever part of our “charm”? No. I would say that sin is part of who we are. But I can think of one way in which sin can be a part of us that, if not attractive is at least bearable. Confession. Honestly acknowledging that we don’t always get it right – that’s the way to make sin more tolerable. Even when we shine our brightest, we know there are places in life that need forgiveness. We know when we are covering up.

James points out to us that sin often begins with human desire. There is nothing wrong with wanting things so long as we don’t let the things obstruct our view of what it is we truly need.

We have gotten as much paint as we can off that bathroom window sill. We’ve applied paint stripper to it in several coats. We’ve sanded it with several grades of sandpaper. We’ve cleaned it and rubbed it smooth. We are going to have to trust that a couple coats of shellac will make the difference. We will make the window shine, but there won’t be any hiding the fact that this old window has seen some tough days.

May your Tuesday be honest and filled with patience with yourself and the people around you.

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.