We bought our first king-size bed when we’d been married about three years. Larry is 6’2″ and takes up lots of bedspace, so we were both happy for extra room. But we’ve never bought a headboard.or footboard. The lack of a footboard was never a problem because Larry needed that space at the foot of the bed. And a headboard? Just never a priority when buying furniture. A few years ago I created one with paintable wallpaper and framed it with molding. The paper looked like tin ceiling tiles so I just gave it a light paint wash. This has been over our bed for at least 15 years.
I’ve slowly moved our decor from blue and mauve (ick! now) to sage green, so this blue above our bed doesn’t look so great with green pillow shams and comforter. In April during one of my”urge to create moments” I bought some Miss Mustard Seed “Luckett Green” milk paint. Painted the frame and that looked okay, but the wallpaper just didn’t reach its potential. I tried wiping it while still wet, sanding, waxing with a dark wax, but it still looked ugly. So I left it alone. For 2 months.
Last week instead of never looking at the headboard (my strategy for living with decorating mistakes), I glanced up at the right hand corner and saw possibilities. The sanding exposed most of the pattern but left green in the same place throughout the design. Finally, I could see potential again! Saturday morning I gathered my supplies, covered the bed, and began sanding. As I sanded I thought about potential in refurbishing projects. The more I sanded, the more this felt like I was on the right track. But every so often I stopped and backed away so I could see the whole headboard, or The Big Picture.
Clearing away the dust: When one section of sanding was completed, I used a rag to wipe off all the dust. That really improved the look. Checking out unintended consequences: Mid-way through the process, I looked down and saw a layer of green dust on the carpet and the top of the baseboard molding. Realized I would need to get out the small vacuum to clean up this mess. Bringing out the shine: I rubbed a clear wax over the whole headboard with a cloth.. This set the paint job so it would not wear off so easily. And the whole time, I kept thinking about seeing potential in people rather than a decorating project. A few categories I’ve experienced came to mind. We look for potential:
- in our children,
- in students we teach,
- in employees,
- in teenagers at church,
- in people who come by our church clothing and food room,
- in the homeless woman who sells papers on the corner,
- in the mission trips we take to Haiti or Honduras.
Do the stages of refurbishing furniture line up with seeing potential in people or situations?
- The Big Picture – sometimes if we don’t stop and look at the big picture, we may think our efforts are wasted. Some teaching situations I’ve been in were just hard, and if I had not looked for the potential or believed in the potential of my students, I would have given up
- Clear Away the Dust – when offering or providing opportunities to people to reach their potential, things can get messy and dirty. So do we. Take a minute to clear the air. Rest a bit. Working on potential is messy and tiring.
- Check for Unintended Consequences (such as green dust) – This is similar to looking at the big picture except that many good ideas have failed because of unintended consequences. I read a story recently about the effect of subsidized US rice to Haiti. Farmers have essentially been driven out of business — certainly not the intention of good efforts to feed the hungry.
- Polish it up. Ceremonies and celebrations recognize when a person or group have successfully achieved a milestone in reaching their potential: high school graduation, end of year awards in school.
Here’s my celebration of completing this project:
Will I keep this for another 15 years? Who knows?
Today I give thanks for the gift of potential that our Creator placed in each of us. I am so thankful that He sees the big picture even when I don’t. I am so thankful that He never gives up on me.