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Painting with Cats

7March2012

Hanging out with cats while painting would be very near the bottom of my list of “things I most enjoy doing.”  I’m serious when I say I’d rather go to the dentist.

I hate painting.

I hate cats. (Sorry to all you cat lovers, but don’t be too offended, they hate me too.  I’m so allergic to them that I get all puffy and sneezy if I see one on TV.)

And going to the dentists isn’t near the top of that list either!

But, I love my niece.

So, by the grace of God, and doped up on Sudafed, I will enter into Anna’s cat-infested home with paintbrush in hand.  I’ll endure the hand-numbing tediousness of cutting in around the edges.  I’ll work through the backbreaking hunched-overness that will plague me into next week.  And I’ll have to cope with the frustrating reality that I am far from a professional painter so my edging will be suspect at best.  Maybe I’m being melodramatic.  After all, Anna will be the one who has to look at it 🙂

But, despite my complaining here, I will gladly go and paint for/with Anna.  As I said, I love my niece.  Her room is a little bland.  It needs some color.  It needs a little more life on its walls; some delight on its drywall.  And, apparently it will be getting it.  I’m not sure if Anna is going with Daredevil Orange or Obstinate Orange—you can imagine what those shades might be.  But I am certain, that after I spend the afternoon and evening with her, color will not be lacking.

Whose world are you painting?

Jesus said in this past Sunday’s gospel, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”  Now, I’m not under the allusion that painting and cats are the cross I am to bear—they are far from a cross—they are a nuisance to me at worst.  But I do think painting with cats is a step along the journey of denying myself.  Yeah, there are—without a doubt—deeper realities and ways to deny myself.  But, truth be told, I suck at denying myself in the simple things, let alone the big things.  I rely on the grace of God daily to forgive my innate ability to justify my actions and myself.  I’m really good at leading the life I want to live instead of following the life Jesus wants for me.

I think Jesus wants me to go paint my niece’s room—and so I go.  To endure the nuisance of allergies and to try and channel Bob Ross’ “joy of painting.”  But, truth be told, I’m going to invest some time in a kid I love to pieces not because its what I want to do but because it is something that needs to be done.  After all, if it were just about spending time with her I could just take Anna to the dentist with me next time I go…

I think a big part of following Jesus is about adding His color to this world—and I don’t think we are called to do this when it is convenient or only in the places that cats don’t prance.  Your life is a paintbrush.  I’m painting with orange this week—what color is on your palate?

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