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Let There be Paint!

I am currently hunkered down in my bedroom, but it is a good thing. The painters are here, transforming my house into something new. For over a decade, I have looked at these walls, wanting to make a change, but the task seemed overwhelming. Even if I didn’t personally take a brush in hand, removing pictures and moving the furniture was just too much trouble, especially since it all had to be put back in place afterwards. And then, there was the expense, something hard to budget for with mounting medical bills. But over the last few weeks of recovery, I had a pretty profound epiphany: most things we consider to be worthwhile can seem daunting, but there are rewards for the effort. More importantly, waiting for the perfect time means nothing ever gets done. I think they call that procrastination.

I have spent my days wondering how many tomorrows I am going to get, which has made each one even more precious. I am reminded of the simple yet profound line from Dead Poet’s Society when Robin Williams dramatically whispers his best advice to his students: “Live boys live.” I’m trying. And I am starting with paint.

Somehow through the fear and pain of this recent cancer recurrence, I got a pretty special gift, a great big dose of hope. Although I can't pinpoint why, I am suddenly more optimistic, which has allowed me to consider what might truly bring me joy, and stirred me from sleepwalking through life. (Sorry, but the English teacher in me won't let me write that I am woke. EEK!). I am decluttering, tossing the stuff that has weighed me down. The lovely scented candle that once upon a time I might have been saved for company is perfuming the air. I am reconnecting with friends. And I am inviting moments of happiness into my daily routine, even if that is something simple like a great cup of coffee accompanied by the perfect jelly donut. Most importantly, I am being kinder to myself. I deserve it.

A health crisis can be scary, but it can also be an opportunity to learn how to live. Experience will teach us some mighty important lessons if we pay attention. I realize that sometimes it is my own stubbornness, my unchangeable mindsets, that often gets in the way. A perception shift is not easy, but it sure is powerful and healing. Like the redecorating, I, too, am a work-in-progress.

As for the painting, I have traded in my dark colors, which made the house feel rather cocoon-like for something brighter. The color is called Divine White. Perhaps that's a sign. It is time to open the windows and embrace the light, for therein is the source of life. And it sure does make me smile.

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