Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shedding Some Light

A few years ago I repainted one of our bedrooms. As part of the prep for repainting, two holes had to be repaired in the dry wall. One was on a wall, the other in the ceiling. I opted to repair the dry wall myself. How hard could it be? The results were mixed.

The hole in the wall was quite large, having accommodated a teenager's rear end while wrestling with a sibling. When slammed against the wall, the dry wall, not the buttock, caved in. I had to cut the hole square, insert some wood to brace the patch, and then cut a square to fit the hole. Then came the mudding around the edges and smoothing it out. I'm sure there were frustrating moments, but the overall result was quite professional. You can't see the patch--the wall is smooth.

The hole in the ceiling was a different matter. It was caused by some paper wasps who got into our attic and built their nest there, eating away the dry wall, I suppose, for their own building materials. My son recalls being able to hear the buzzing above his head and praying to God they wouldn't break through.

Well, the wasps were dead now, but before they expired, the dry wall was eaten down to paper-thinness in a circle about six inches in diameter. I nervously removed that area and scooped out bit by bit all of the nest. Then I followed the same steps I did with the hole in the wall.

It is much more difficult to do repairs when your head is bent backwards working on a horizontal, but upside-down surface. This hole is also positioned by a window. Light pours in there, exposing everything. That naked patch is so bad--lumpy, bumpy and all the seams showing. How could have I failed so badly there?

That bad patch is like the face of many embarrassments. As long as nothing draws attention to our errors, faults, and lack of giftedness, we get along just fine. But as soon as a particular area comes under scrutiny, nothing can hide. The spotlight shows all the zits, moles and wrinkles in the complexions of our faults.

I look at that bad patch and realize my limitations. True, I could take it all out and re-do it, but I know the extent of my time, energy and patience. Perfection can wait when it comes to dry wall. Besides, half in embarrassment, half in humility, I point out the bad patch to people who come in the room. See this? I did that. Yeah, I know. It's really bad. I feel relieved to be less than super-human.

The patch is also a good reminder about other areas of my life. There are things that we should not allow to remain unchanged. I lost my patience with that patch. I am not willing to remain impatient with people. Grace is needed--and a willingness to cut out, patch, and smooth over my failings. My dark corners could use a light shed on them now and again.

No comments: