I began painting an old door this afternoon. It has been on our house for decades, and it looks pretty bad. It isn’t a popular door, meaning not a lot of people use it. We have changed and added a few things and now that door will get more use. It was faded, had rust, and simply looked pretty bad. The first coat of paint covered a multitude of sins. Only one coat and it already looks much better.
I think that is why I like painting things; paint covers almost any sin. A fresh coat and all can seem right with the world. Yes it takes a lot of time to prep and plan, and yes it takes effort and patience to actually do the painting. To me all that is worth it as paining is an inexpensive way to change everything. Tomorrow I will paint a second coat, maybe a third and that door will look new and inviting.
There doesn’t seem to be a human equivalent to a fresh coat of paint, maybe a haircut or a new outfit. Unfortunately for us our hair grows out and new outfits all too soon become old outfits. Maybe instead of focusing on the outside we should look inside. The one thing that covers our transgressions – our rust, faded mindset or attitudes, our poor attention span or lack of self awareness – is a clean confession. The right words of apology at the right time can forgive a multitude of sins. They clean our relationships up so to say. That many not cover up the sins but it will ease the healing process.
The challenge with both paint and an apology is that they do not address the real issue, the underlying problems, the corrosion beneath the surface. Paint covers the sins but it does not repair them, and an apology may soothe the latest transgression but it doesn’t correct the offending behavior. The only way to prevent the problem from reoccurring or getting worse it to deal with the root of the issue. This takes more work, more labor, more time and much more effort. It means digging in instead of simply covering up. It is harder to correct because it means we have to first get really real, then dig deep and removing the rotten parts. It means changing our habits and behaviors, our thought processes and attitudes. It may mean replacing something old with something new, giving up the way we have always done things and look at the situation from a new perspective. Or we can slap on another coat of paint and hope it lasts another couple years.
We know our old door will eventually need to be replaced, that is the only way all the issues will get resolved. Painting only buys us more time until we find the door we want. It is a low priority, so a fresh coat of paint is good enough. Is it time for you to paint, or to take courage and move to the next level and dig deep to repair your offenses? Is good enough to keep the relationship going, or is it time for you to replace and change? Here is when I think of the old saying, the best time to fix your roof is when the sun is shining. I may not have been fixing my roof, but the addage still applies. No one really knows what is best for you but you, better to paint on a sunny day than to regret not doing anything in the pouring rain.