The Interior Decorator
by PamFord Davis
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We had lived in our home for many years, and had raised our children there. Now, I was adjusting to the “empty nest.” As I looked around me, I decided it was time to make some changes. It was a nice house; but it was crying out for redecorating, not just a fresh coat of paint.
Where would I start? I already felt overwhelmed, and was about to change my mind! No,.I must get started; I'd just take one step at a time. First I would have to choose an Interior Decorator. I was clueless, and decided to “Let My Fingers Do The Walking,Through The Yellow Pages.” To my amazement our small city had many to select from. Could I place this project in the hands of someone that I had picked out of a phone book? No, I needed to ask around and see who our friends and neighbors had used. My confidence was growing. Soon I made my decision, based on three recommendations for the same man. If they trusted him, I could, too.
I called and made an appointment for the following Monday morning at 10am. That would be a good time to make a fresh start. All week I walked back and forth through my house, while looking, really looking around me. Now, I was feeling nervous about the arrival of Monday. Maybe “I have bit off more than I can chew.” I realized that there was much more work than I had first thought.
I needed a plan of action, and to make some priorities. I was sure that the best place to start would be my front door entrance. It was dark and dreary. If that was changed people would get a good first impression right away. Yes, we will start there, then move on to the living room and den, with the other areas of the house to follow after.
Sunday afternoon I was “Running Around Like A Chicken With Her Head Cut Off !” I cleared clutter, I scrubbed, and I polished. I did not want the Interior Decorator to think I was a bad housekeeper! The following morning he arrived about ten minutes early. I liked that ; it meant he was eager to get started. He warmly shook my hand, and a smile drew me to him instantly. I would feel comfortable with him in my home.
I gave “The Ten Cent Tour ,” chattering all the while. Why do I do that? I showed him my list of priorities, as he quietly jotted down information in a small note pad. He lifted his head, with his eyes meeting mine and said: “ We will start in the basement; then we will do all of the closets.” “What? You have got to be kidding! Nobody sees them; and that is where I put things away and out of sight. That would be a waste of time and money!” Is there time to back out, I wonder? I have not signed any contract. Hr read my face like a book, gently put his hand on my shoulder, and said “ Trust me. I know what I am doing.” I was not fully convinced; but I've come this far...I might as well get started. If things don't work out, I could always replace him.
I asked him when he could start, expecting him to place me at the bottom of a long waiting list. He started to roll up his sleeves and said “Right now.” Wow! I had no idea things would move so fast. He pointed toward the basement and I slowly moved forward. He asked me to bring large trash bags for getting rid of things, I no longer needed.
I opened the door to the basement and turned on the light, as I glanced down the long set of stairs. I wanted to bolt the door and run ! It was a mess down there, a disaster zone! For years when I had not known what to do with something, or when I couldn't bear to part with it, it would be stashed in the basement. Now, It had caught up with me; and I was humiliated. He seemed to sense my embarrassment, chuckled and said “ I won't see anything that I have not seen before!”
As soon as we were down there, in the cellar, he opened windows, and turned on all of the lights. He asked me if there was a back entrance, and to open that door, too. I had known it was bad, but I had no idea it was this bad! There was junk in some places stacked all the way up to the ceiling. It was crammed between the rafters! The smell of mold and mildew made it difficult to breathe.
We began to inch our way around, sorting and sorting...discard, keep, or save...It went on and on. The strange thing is what I thought should be buried,he thought should be saved. He told me to bring many things out into the light, in the sunshine. He said that would make them fresh and fragrant again. I still did not see much promise in a lot he set aside for later use. The work in the basement took all week. I was so relieved when he said “Time to go back upstairs.” I took one last glance around. I sure had hated to start there; but I felt at peace with a job well done.
Upstairs he asked for a glass of fresh cool water, before we began to organize the closets. I was glad to do such a simple thing for him. He had done so much for me. It was now Friday; and the basement had been a big job. He looked in each closet, then took more notes, and said he looked forward to seeing me at daybreak next Monday. He said that the best work can be accomplished when started bright and early.
The next week was not as stressful; now I knew what to expect. In closet after closet it was always the same sorting...discard, keep, or share. It seemed easier each day to follow his instructions. Weeks turned into months, as we moved from room to room. We sorted; we cleaned; and we painted. Our LAST work area was the front door entrance, where I had planned to begin! I thought our task was completed, and was about to discuss his final fees, and grab my check book. He said “ Now you have a lovely remodeled house. Let's make it a home!” He said that what we would now be needing were the things we had set aside, to be saved, from the basement and closets. “ No! Don't you understand that I don't want them! I don't even like looking at them anymore! That is why I hid them in the basement and closets!” He was already busy boxing up things to use. I had no idea what he was doing. I just kind of stood by, as in a daze.
Suddenly, he turned and explained very patiently. When people come into our homes, they should be able to relax, and be themselves. They are not perfect; they have their faults and problems. If I hide mine away, stash all the imperfections, they will not feel at ease. They would not feel at home. He placed my hidden items in open sight, all around the house.
It was such a strange experience, as feeling like I had just taken a big deep breath of fresh air! My life was open and free. Things were no longer hidden. Before leaving he said the only final suggestions he could make would be simple and not very expensive. I liked that! He said to add as much natural sunlight and fresh air as possible. People would need that. Other things I was urged to do were to display fresh flowers when ever possible, and to throw around soft pillows in sitting areas. They would be a special treat to my guests. His last idea was one I may not have thought much about before. He urged me to spend more time around the kitchen table with my company, explaining that the feeling of closeness, while enjoying simple foods and beverages would be special. Those times would be cherished ; and we could more easily share those things we try to hide.
Well, in closing let me highly recommend this Interior Decorator, JESUS! He created all things.(Colossians 1:16) If He could decorate our world, He can redecorate our lives! 'He can be reached anytime of day or night at this number: J-O-H-N- 3:16
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This is, as Jan said, a delightful allegory of the master of the new creation. I hope you'll consider trying the writing challenge. It's not usually as tough as this quarter has been.