Point of Contact-Part 1: An Analogy
My brother recently moved into a new house. By that, I mean new to him. It was built in 1840 and you’d think the shelf paper I volunteered to remove and replace in the kitchen had been there from the beginning. OMGoodness! Now, let me be clear: I love Con-Tact paper (which to me has become sort of like “Kleenex” when referring to a product and not necessarily a brand). So, while I don’t necessarily endorse Con-Tact as a brand, I do believe it has served many a family well in keeping their kitchen cabinets neat and clean, along with being useful for many other creative projects. But I digress…(I’m pretty good at digressing!)
While I was working on this labor of love for my baby brother (insert sister guilt-ha!), I couldn’t help but see this project as an analogy of sorts and thought you might be able to glean some wisdom that will stick with you...pun absolutely intended!
Here’s the story (parable/analogy): I love organizing. One of my favorite places in the home to organize is the kitchen. It’s WAY more fun than actually cooking. (More on that in a later post!)
So, when my brother announced that he was moving, we naturally volunteered to help. My husband brought the yard equipment and got to the sweaty, laborious work of cutting out scrub bushes and wild trees, weed whacking, and removing cacti. Yes, you read that right. Who knew cactus grew in Tennessee? Not us. Remember, we’re Yankees from Illinois. Regardless, my brother really didn’t want cactus growing in his yard, so out they came.
It should come as no surprise that I volunteered to tackle the kitchen. We stopped at Walmart on the way and bought several rolls of shelf liner and I got to work. I was super-excited, because there is nothing like brand-new shelf-liner as you fill the cabinets of your new (or not-so-new) home for the first time. (#organizinggeek)
Some of the old shelf paper peeled right off without a problem. It was the remainder that became a problem. No matter how hard I tried, some of that stubborn stuff just would not come off. I’d pick and pick at a corner, pull it up gently, then it would tear off leaving a jagged edge, and my arm would bang into the cabinet frame with all the force I had used to conquer that offending stuff. After a few cabinets, the excitement began to wear off of this now tedious task. I realized it would take forever to do it myself, so I called in the “big guns” - a hair dryer.
I learned a few things rather quickly. The heat from the hair dryer would soften the adhesive on the old liner, but it took some time. It took some patience. I finally figured out that if I worked on one area while letting the heat go to work on another area, it was much less painful and went a lot faster. I will say that the heat was intense and at times it was pretty uncomfortable, but nothing like the painful bruises now showing up on my forearms from trying to do it by myself.
Another noteworthy observation: some of the cabinets had TWO layers of shelf-liner. Awesome. Obviously, someone had run into this problem before and had come up with the dubious idea of just putting the new over the old. Why’s that a problem? Well, the good news is that new layer didn’t really stick. But it was actually uglier than the old. And when you peeled it off (easy as it was), the old, ugly, brittle, stubborn stuff was still there.
I also found out that I am more stubborn than old, ugly, brittle, stubborn shelf liner. At times, as much as this project was moving along with the help of the hair dryer, there would occasionally be a little piece that would just stay stuck. After all this work, there was NO WAY I was going to leave it there. Plus, by then, it had become an analogy to me about the spiritual life and the intentional, laborious, and stubborn work that we sometimes need to do to remove the old, ugly, brittle, and stubborn sin in our lives. I'll share my thoughts in Part 2. In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Any part of this analogy stick with you? Please feel free to comment below!