Almost three years ago I devoted a couple of weeks to repainting our front room. It was a project that required shoving all the furniture to one side, draping everything with plastic, painting and then repeating the process for the other side. I then had a lovely empty wall. I spent the next few weeks looking at that wall and planning what we should hang on it to finish making the room a beautiful place. I even went out and purchased a wrought iron wall sconce as part of my plans.
That January was the beginning of 2013, which was the year of massive transition in our family. Mental health issues emerged in not-to-be-ignored ways. I had kids transitioning schools, the oldest was headed for college, and there was a shift to be made in how our business was run. I wanted 2014 to be better, part of it was, most of it wasn’t. 2015 has been a rough ride as well, much of that because all the stress caught up to me and I’ve been trying to regain my balance. In all that time this wall sconce sat on the floor in my office. Sometimes it was tucked into a corner. Other times it got moved out into the middle of things because I was rearranging. It got knocked over. The glass cups went rolling on the floor and had to be recollected. I thought of getting rid of it more than once. My plans for the front room wall had changed anyway. I kept being annoyed by it, but not quite being willing to give it away.
A few weeks ago Howard saw it in my office and mentioned that it would look nice on the front entry wall where we’d recently removed a batik hanging. This was not the wall that I had nicely painted. This was the opposite wall that I’d meant to get around to painting, but never did. It sits there white, dingy, and waiting for me to decide if I really do want to knock open the front of the coat closet to turn it into a nook, or if I just want to paint and call it good. Howard was right, the sconce would fit there. Yesterday I decided I was done waiting. I didn’t have the energy to make big decisions about closets and nooks. I didn’t have time to undertake a big painting project. But I could grab a drill and drive in a few screws.
Two screws. Fifteen minutes. The sconce that has been underfoot in my life for three years is now in a place where it is lovely instead of annoying. Howard took it a step further and lit candles to go with it.
It is beautiful, and in the light of its candles, the wall becomes beautiful too. My mind wants to make a parable of this story, to find a single meaning. Instead I found several. When things are out of place, I can’t see their true value. Sometimes something which spends a long time being a problem can turn out to be wonderful. If I am patient I will get through the hard time and back to where I can make things lovely instead of spending all my energy surviving. Howard sees things I don’t and makes my life brighter.
Or maybe I should stop trying to assign meaning and just be happy watching the candles flicker.