Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bedford Gray

    Pat left me in the paint department at Home Depot while he picked up the other widgets and supplies he needed for one or more of the dozen’s of projects going on in our house.  My task was to choose the perfect paint color for our kitchen and family room which form a long rectangle.  It had to be a color that I would love and Pat would like.  I wanted a grayish taupe.  The color had to be neutral, but not boring.  Up to date, but not too trendy.  It had to say this place is home, sit stay awhile, and be comfortable, but not be a snooze-fest.  It had to look good when the sun was streaming through the window and when the day was cloudy.  It had to coordinate with the floor tile, the cabinets, and the brick on the fireplace.  It had to be perfect.
     I arrived at Home Depot armed with a list of about ten different colors in several paint brands.  I had notes that I had diligently copied from websites and Pinterest.  Colors with names like Agreeable Gray, Balboa Mist, Mineral, Edgecomb Gray, Woodrow Wilson Putty, Gallery Buff, and Sandy Hook.  I could picture the color in my imagination.  The question was, could I find it among the paint displays.  Slowly I searched, pausing over likely colors.  I checked my list.  I lay paint chips across the gleaming stainless steel counter.  I held each chip up to a white piece of trim to check out the contrast.  Pat stopped in now and then to check my progress.  Finally, I  settled on Martha Stewart’s Bedford Gray.  The very color that Martha Stewart has in her own kitchen!
     The bottom of the walls in our kitchen/family room are white beadboard.  The top of the walls had been freshly sheet rocked, puttied, and sanded.  Pat and I were excited to see the gray sheetrock covered by my beautiful new perfect color.  The big moment had arrived.  The paint included the primer, so it wasn’t necessary to prime the wall first.  I poured the paint into the tray.  I had great expectations for this color.  Holding my breath, I rolled the paint onto the wall, and it promptly blended right in to the gray color of the sheetrock!
    “There are thousands of colors and you choose sheetrock gray, Donna.  I wouldn’t have picked that one,” stated my beloved husband as he left to work on one of the other projects.
     Feeling more than a little disappointed in my color choice, I nevertheless rolled it up on the wall.  It was hard to tell where I had been, because wet, Bedford Gray really is the color of sheetrock.  Pat shook his head each time he walked through the room.  Patty came home from work, sat in the kitchen where the paint smell lingered in the air and thought I had repainted the trim, while she was looking at my freshly painted walls.
     But fortunately for me, paint dries darker than it looks wet.  The Bedford Gray dried overnight to a really wonderful warm gray that met all of my expectations.  Pat is even pleased with the color.  Martha Stewart really does know her way around a kitchen.
     I had a long list of expectations and requirements for so simple a thing as a can of  paint.  Were I to be asked to make a list of expectations that God would require of me, I would have a document containing bullet points and details for behavior and thoughts in all manner of situations. I would have separate sections for marriage, parenting, words of wisdom, and relating to others.  There would be pages of “Must Do’s,” “Should Do’s,” and “Don’t You Dare Do’s.”
     It helps me to shed these unrealistic expectations when I read what the prophet Micah wrote.
     He has showed you O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God  ~Micah 6:8
     Not a long list.  Love mercy.  Be just.  And walk in a humble relationship with God.  Walking in a relationship with God, is not a matter of performance.  It’s a matter of love.  God loves us, even when we mess up.  Even when others think, “I wouldn’t have picked that one.”  God does not accept you after you become good enough, He loves you just as you are.
     God’s expectations are perfect because He knows us perfectly and loves us completely.  He knows exactly what we are, and are not, capable of.
     Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you;  I have called you by name, you are mine.  You are precious in my eyes, because you are honored and I love you…the mountains may depart, the hills be shaken, but my love for you will never leave you and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken.  ~Isaiah 43:1,4; 54:10
     Our worth and value are not in our possessions, talents, esteem, income, or reputation.  We are His Beloved, and that is expectation enough.
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