For two years, I found painting enabled time for reflection on my life. In the above picture, I am intent on coating the eves of the very peak of the front of our new construction. Two years ago, my wife Elaine and I sold the home we had lived in over 30 years to live in this house with our daughter.
We moved into our permanent home still under construction July 2022. The new construction also consisted of an upstairs four-room, two bath apartment we have now completed and rent to AirBnB travelers. You may see that new apartment at: airbnb.com/h/treetopcabinpnw . But it wasn’t the temporary living that brought me time for reflection; painting did.
Painting: My Time For Reflection
In order to save construction costs, I determined to serve as my own painting contractor. Day after day, as the crew put up cedar siding, I followed with my trusty roller and paintbrush. I had never used a spray gun, and preferred the old fashioned method. My foreman, in fact, told me, “this is the best way to seal a house”– with roller and brush. Using scaffolding, I started painting two coats on the second story It was this painting experience that enabled me time for reflection.
Over the next two years, I painted behind the crew as they installed new cedar siding. But I also prepared and put a couple of two fresh coats on the older part of the house. Hint for novices: preparation through scraping and sanding of the wood takes the time and energy; applying the paint is the “gravy.” I have no idea how much money I saved over those two years of painting, but I know I saved a lot. Inflation hit us. When I began, a gallon of paint cost me just over $25, but when I finished, it was over $65! It took me two years to finish. I tell people, “I started at 83 and finished at 85.”
But I achieved something worth much more than saving money: painting enabled me time for reflection on my life. The daily time painting, usually alone, provided the time I needed for thinking. That was something I had always enjoyed about painting, the time to think.
What Time for Reflection On My Life Revealed
Painting my house enabled me to reflect on my life, to review my decisions, assess my accomplishments and my mistakes. It also afforded me the opportunity to reflect on God’s grace to sinners. With all that time on my hands reflection led me to self-examination. I needed freedom for a fresh experience of God’s mercy. Our sins separate us from God, so we need a way to put them behind us. Christ died so we might be forgiven. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
What You Can Learn
Painting enabled me reflection on my life. What about you? Perhaps you experience long hours at a place that feels routine and solitary. Cleaning, washing, standing hours on end. Rather than feel constantly frustrated, perhaps you can use that time to think. Maybe you can benefit from that solitude to reflect on what you might have done differently in your life. Could you use that time to reflect on what most hinders your closeness with God? Would you think about how much God wants you to come closer to Him? When you take time for reflection about your life, what achievements or missteps would you like to talk with him about? During this week of “Happy Holidays” greetings, remember the purpose of the birth of Jesus: to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).