I Want what I Had before
I knew I wouldn’t enjoy pressure washing my house, and it took exactly 20 seconds to know I hated the job. After that appalling task was completed, I devoted many evenings to scraping away the chipping paint. The flakes seemed to cling with stubbornness to the siding despite their aptitude for flaking away as soon as a new coat of paint should cover them. With paint chips settling into my hair and my toes tightly gripping the top rungs of a ladder, I’d stretch as far as I could to reach the highest points of my house.
As distasteful as these jobs were, nothing compared to the absolute horrors of having to buy the paint.
Well I remember the first time I tried to purchase a can of interior white. At first I was simply puzzled. In vain I searched the one inch squares for plain white. Instead I was greeted by snow ballet, sea salt, ivory key, pearl drop, sail white, wedding white, coconut flake, sugar dust, and bright cloud. With a growing sense of doom, I approached a man in an orange apron, “Where is the plain white?” I asked.
“No such thing,” he informed me.
“What kind of white does one put on a bedroom wall?” I asked.
“We can’t pick out colors for you, lady. The best thing to do is to take samples of the colors you like and hold them up to the wall in your house. The colors look different in every house.”
I tried for a few more minutes to pick out a nice shade of white, but just as I thought I’d found a good one, I would move out of the bright lights. What had seemed a nice version of plain white a split second before was now a sickly green, take a few more steps and it turned into gloomy grey. I left the store without paint and tears in my eyes.
This time would be different though. I was repainting, and for ten years I’d saved the Parker Paint formula for Warm Rays – a most delightful and cheering yellow that had graced the outside of my house for the past decade.
After a lengthy wait, the woman behind the counter stopped beating the tops of paint cans with a mallet, looked at me, and in a decidedly unfriendly voice said, “Yes.”
With a bright smile, I stepped forward and stated, “I’d like ten gallons of exterior paint in this color,” upon which I thrust onto the counter my carefully guarded formula, “and five gallons of primer.”
“Do you want the primer in the paint or out of the paint?”
This question made absolutely no sense to me and required a quick call to my brother. “Out of the paint, please,” I responded.
“Hmph!” Clearly she thought I should have bought the primer in the paint. This was also when I noticed she was frowning at my formula.
“We don’t carry this color. We never even carried this brand of paint.”
I could feel my patience ebbing ever so slightly, and the muscles in the back of my neck were starting to bunch. “I think you must have,” I gently prodded. “It has your store name printed on the formula.”
“Well that was years ago, but if you give me a paint chip, I can get a fairly close match.”
After a trip home to peel a bit of paint off of the original paint can, I made a flying trip back to the hardware store where I was plied with more impossible questions such as flat, satin, or semi gloss?
All I could think of was that I just wanted what I’d had before. I wanted a constant, something that didn’t change; and as soon as that thought flitted through my head, another followed. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
Something tells me that if another ten years pass and I want my house to remain the same color, I’ll go through the same frustrations in purchasing the paint. What a comfort to know that Jesus will be exactly the same then as He is today!