I've been painting walls. One stroke of the roller saturated with apricot-cream, and the wear and tear of the past fourteen years vanishes.
And I wish it was that easy.
I have built a wall. Well, not one. It feels like four walls with a tiny back door closed against what hurts. So why do I keep finding them like dust bunnies gathered in the corners of my space? I built this wall to keep them out. On the other side.
"What are they doing in here?" I ask myself. "How did they get in?" I puzzle over that, roller poised and dripping, knowing that covering a dingy wall with a fresh coat isn't the answer. "Do the walls need to come down? Should I be swinging a demolition ball, not holding a paint roller?" I consider this, and conclude, "No."
For all the wonder of life, life is wounding. Protection is wise. Freedom is necessary.
Balancing on the top step of my ladder, I stretch the roller toward the top of the wall and glide it carefully along the ceiling seam. Life. Wounds. Protection. Freedom. And somehow in the upward reach because apricot-cream is more desirable than what was there, I think about another upward reach. Not for something called apricot-cream, but another fruit. In the garden. Why were they reaching? Was it because they were being wounded? Darted with doubt and daggered with discontent...and they forgot about all they had to be thankful for?
And ever since Eden we've been reaching.
At the top of the ladder I wonder about my wall. Not the one I'm painting, but the other one. What if I remembered to be thankful in all things when I first heard the dart hissing toward me like a snake's tongue; felt the dagger bite? What if I looked at the situation, couldn't find a reason compelling enough to say "thank you,"... but looked at God, and did? Well, the bite would have been nothing more. Just a snake bite that felt like a dagger. But they didn't remember this in the garden, and neither do I.
The bite festers for lack of thanksgiving. And weeps. It weeps with resentment, anger, bitterness, discontent. These are the real wounds. They didn't get in through the back door. They got in through discontentment that was already there. And the wall that goes up keeps it all in, not out. A wall of wounds is no protection for the wounded. But the way to stop hurting is to start saying, "thank you." This stops the weeping.
I stand back to admire the freshly painted wall in front of me and start thanking God and saying, "Help" at the same time. I kneel on the splattered painter's cloth, an old bath towel. I hold the roller out over it and offer it to Jesus... a silent faith plea. I want Him to take the roller and soak it in the tray until it's dripping glory heavy with jasper-stone-clear-as-crystal. No egg-shell gloss, but the Lamb-is-it's-light shine. And I want Him to raise that roller and erase the marks and scuffs, the bruises and holes...the weeping...
...in one brilliant stroke.
I look up at the ceiling, not the one with a smudge of apricot-cream on it, but the one smudged with swirling galaxies. A brilliant stroke I'm held beneath. Covered. A hint of His glory. And the variegated atmospheric walls sometimes clear as crystal, sometimes opaque with humid air, sometimes shimmering with liquid diamonds falling from a quarry of clouds, or dancing with wind...a great and high wall, keeping me on this earth. Adorned.
And I'm on my knees. My t-shirt is smudged with paint. But what's that I hear?
"You are My bride. I am Your wall."
Yes, I heard it in the whispery sound that a saturated roller makes.
I'm soaking my roller with thanksgiving today.
written by: Carolyn Roehrig