Monday, July 26, 2010

Turning Junk into Treasure


I decided to sacrifice for my son- rather then keep the cabinet and shelf unit I found on the curbside years ago and have used as a book and game shelf, I selflessly decided to hand these valuable recycled trash on to him. They are constructed of the finest pasteboard with a simulated wood grain, found only in the most discerning homes, and Matt is moving into a huge unfurnished apartment.

"I am an artist," I told myself, "I will transform these."
My friend Andi stopped by as I was busily painting the units. I had only one coat painted on, and the particle board was still showing through. Naturally, she could likely not see the beauty I was envisioning.
"What do you plan to do with them?" she asked, nonchalantly, but I could detect in her carefully guarded tone a touch of horror.
Plan? I am not following a "plan". I am in the throes of inspiration, spontaneous creative genius will pour from my fingers directly to the old cabinet.
"I don't know," I answered, "Do you have any ideas?"
"Well, what look are you going for?" she asked, as though the look of 20 year old rejected garbage was not adequate in and of itself.
"Well it is a historic, majestic, magnificent home," I answered, "I would like the piece to reflect that."
Andi blinked at me. I believe she was speechless with the magnitude of my aspirations.

She did convince me that I could not just paint the outer trim but had to paint the inside as well.
As I blobbed some paint on the brass hinges, I hoped she didn't notice, but she did.
"I can wipe those off later," I said, as though blobbing the paint was exactly what I meant to do.
"I think you need to take the doors off and paint them separately, then put them back on," she suggested.
"Take them off?!" I screeched. Not if I intended to be done by dinner, I was thinking.
"This will not be a 20 minute job," warned Andi.
She left to her errands and I did not take the doors off, but decided the brass hinges looked better with white paint on them anyway.
By the second coat of paint, the unit was looking almost lovely. I left the shelves fake wood grain, but painted the back wall of the inside white as well. By the time they had dried, and I had placed the pristine white cabinet unit on top of the gleaming shelf unit, I no longer wanted to give it to Matt. If I painted a delicate floral trim in Wedgwood blue, I felt I would have a museum ready piece, as long as one didn't peer too closely at the right bottom side where mice had chewed away a half circle of splintering board. A plant could sit nicely at that corner. However, I will give it to Matt though at this point it is one of the nicer pieces in my home.....

I only wished I had done this years ago. Transformation is never easy, always involves work, and often sacrifice. Our sermon at church yesterday was that we could never transform ourselves, so we could stop that endless futile struggle. Transformation is of the spirit, and by the spirit; the spirit of the Lord. The pastor was careful to point out that he was not saying we should give up obeying God, reading and studying scripture, gathering together as believers to support and encourage each other..... but it did mean that we didn't have the power to turn particle board into oak. Only God could do that.... and He did it through the love and sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. Through His brushstrokes, our flaws are not only covered but metamorphosed, and He doesn't need a plant to hide the holes. This is encouraging news, because I still have a dresser and a computer hutch to transform, and am already exhausted.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (New International Version)

17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

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