Most of you come to my blog to get recipes. I know it's true. You've told me so. Some of you may come to see what sort of sewing or quilting project is in the works. Doubtful any of you come here for jewels of wisdom, spewed forth as oracles from on high. Not that you would find them here if you did....
Occasionally I get all philosophical and share little nuggets I'll call my "life-lessons." These life lessons give a little glimpse of who I am and from whence I came. This happens to be one of those days I'm feeling philosophical and preachy. And this particular life-lesson has to do with decorating, of all things.
A long time ago, in a place far, far away I lived in the land of "matchy." I desired that every accessory in our home go-together, coordinate, or match. Those were the days of country blue and mauve. Mauve. Lots of mauve. OK, tan and beige were allowed, too, maybe a little navy blue and rose. No yellow. No aqua. No green. Orange? Heaven forbid! The Mauving of America I call it. If you're too young to remember that era, be thankful. Be very thankful.
And themes. I remember carefully selecting the colors and theme for the nursery when we discovered we would soon have a bundle of joy. Blue gingham, tan, brown, a touch of pink gingham (in case it happened to be a girl) cream eyelet, and teddy bears. That was all. I coordinated every item perfectly as I took each loving stitch in the quilt, sewed the curtains, constructed the dust ruffle and bumper pads. Everything had a teddy bear on it....the border around the top of the room, the switch plate cover, the candlewick embroidered rocking chair seat cushion. (Does ANYone candlewick anymore?)
Then the problems started rearing their ugly heads. Gifts that should have been appreciated and cherished became glaring "errors" in my carefully thought out plan. The primary-colored clown, a gift from a dear friend--two strikes. Primary colors were not permitted, and there was nary another clown in the room. Definitely a loud gong in the sweet melody of my coordinated nursery. There were other gifts such as a green crocheted blanket and a merry-go-round music box. The blanket was easily tucked into a drawer, but the music box screamed from the wooden-shelf-with-heart-cut-out, "I don't belong here." I felt a need to remain in control of what was allowed in that room or perhaps it might not look perfectly pulled together. Minimal originality and creativity. Zero spontaneity.
Weird, I admit it.
Looking back at photos, I now see rooms that were boring, flat, pretty much lifeless. I thought they were so cute in all their matchy-matchy, country glory. Mostly, though, they were just dull. And I admit to now harboring a particular irritation to that style of decorating, where everything must "fit" just right.
I remember when I discovered yellow. It happened about 1998 or some time around then. Suddenly, I realized I was completely yellow deprived. I'd lived without it for so long that when I discovered it in decorating, I wanted it everywhere....on my walls...on my dishes...in quilts. I couldn't get enough yellow. And red. And blue. Primary colors. All the colors I'd shunned for years. The colors from which all other hues are made. It seemed as though, when I welcomed the yellow, red, and blue, that all other colors worked fine in my home. Nothing looked out of place. It all came together.
Anyway, at least as far as decorating goes, I've learned to let go a lot. It is so much more fun to take something odd or different and figure out a way to make it work, than to limit myself to a contrived, boring color scheme or trendy theme that is "in" one year and "out" a few years later.
There is a spiritual lesson buried here somewhere I think, as God often uses every day lessons such as this one to teach me spiritual truths. So, as I've been pondering my shallow, short-sighted approach to furnishing our home, I can't help but think about my shallow, short-sighted view of my life at the same time.
It can seem really nice when life fits a prescribed, predicable pattern, but rarely does it do that. I admit to being a total wimp. I can hold on tight, and try to remain in control of all the details of my life (exceedingly tiring, while totally useless), or I can let go and watch God work through the plethora of seemingly jangled events that often jar my comfortable existence. Usually He is stretching me way past what feels easy to something a little harder, something that makes me depend more on Him. But I find that, just like in decorating, stepping away from what is familiar into the unknown brings much more delight and beauty to my life. What I think "looks good" from my perspective often doesn't. What seems foreign or frightening is often in reality thrilling. He brings into my life circumstances or people that I would never choose for myself. But He's God; and He knows best.
And I'm so thankful that He does.