These walls need painting, they need new plaster and pictures hung. But, inside these walls hold echoing laughter, squeals of delight from 3 small kids. These walls have seen games of hide and seek, kids jumping out to surprise daddy’s homecoming, new siblings brought home, a family being formed. They have held secrets of tears, hurt feelings, loneliness and heartbreak. These walls are ours. They form our home. Our home to raise children, to love children, to fight for reconciliation with each other regularly. This home is not perfect. It is old, crumbling and in need of life. But, I am too. I need life and I am called to give life to others. To invite them into these walls. To sit around the table in the room with orange walls. To make pancakes and sing birthday songs in the room with beige walls. To bathe squishy new babies in the room with pink rose tile. It is not the color of the walls that makes the home.
As my husband holds our almost 2 year old “eating his belly button” squeals of laughter bounce around the room. I hold my daughter tightly nuzzled against her face watching and laughing and I realize what has faded. The beige walls aren’t as depressing, the mismatched cabinets that need painting aren’t as urgent. The urgency is being present. Present not in how to renovate, present not in the latest decorating idea and present not in the color chart that regularly swarms in my head. But, present in the moments these walls hold. Present in the home these walls protect. To be present is to be undistracted. In a 100 year old home that we have a 30 year plan to renovate being distracted is easy. To play the “what if” game and the “then/when” game takes little effort. I easily dream, plan and design, forgetting what is in front of me now! I’m the only one in my family who cares what color covers the walls and by caring so much about that I miss out. There are kids making Lego movies that just want me to sit and listen. There is a baby laying in his bed waiting for me and asking me to climb in his crib and snuggle. There are stacks upon stacks of books to be read. There are quiet early mornings to celebrate the view from the windows. There are yards to be played in instead of gardens to be planned or plants to be pruned. My heart needs pruning. My priorities need weeding and my little girl’s fingernails are what I should be painting.
Decorating is just dressing something up but it doesn’t dress me up. It doesn’t make me a more intentional friend, a more serving wife, or a more present mom. I want to show people I have it all and I can do it all. Look at my style, my walls perfectly balanced between calming neutrals and happy colors. I can be organized and styled and modern. I am a good housekeeper; a good homemaker because this is a home anyone would want to be in. But, is the state of my heart reflected in my home? The few rooms with my perfect paint color remind me of a crazy nesting stage in pregnancy where my parents spent way too much money to have our walls painted or the curtains which coordinate perfectly that I spent hours upon hours at night making just to be exhausted the next morning and never found the time to hem. They are meant for enjoyment but a lack of those aesthetics shouldn’t change the wonder that breathes life in these walls. Is the dust in corners because I am engaged with my kids or is it in the corners because I am doing too much and not focused? My heart can be a mess and when it is a mess there is order that needs to be arranged. How many texts have I sent that day? How many Instagrams have I posted? How many books still sit unread in a stack? The list of daily tasks, the piles of laundry, the toys not played with and the unopened playdough asks “How many shows have the kids watched? How many phone calls have you answered? How many times have you been task oriented?”
These walls hold what is of high priority. They hold creativity bursting to be let out, curiosity waiting to be ignited, and rooms that have been colored with life. So if the walls stay beige for 10 more years and the curtains get hemmed slowly over a year does it matter?