Paint Therapy

I took the day off to extend my long holiday weekend to four days. I just need a change of pace, some breathing room…

… and to paint.

I need to paint walls. I’ve been saying this for much too long without doing something about it. Every time I look around our main living space, the walls look outdated and tired. I have this constant urge to give them a facelift. They’ve looked the same for too many years. These old walls have really been driving me crazy for about three years, but something always seems to stand in the way of doing anything about it. I decided a couple of months ago that this year would not pass by without fresh paint.

I’ve been picking out colors for months. I want at least two that will complement each other. I’m planning to make over the dining area,  living room, hallway, and the foyer as well. I want something different and yet I kept veering back to the same family of colors that already fill our spaces.

Maybe a fresh pair of eyes would help. I asked my friend. She’s familiar enough with my house in order to express an informed opinion. She recommended bringing some green into the mix. I typically tend to gravitate away from greens. I like fall colors … golds, reds and browns. I like the warmth they offer. But my friend mentioned that green offers serenity. I gave that some consideration. I looked around at my furniture, floors and woodwork. I realized that green could definitely provide some balance in our color schemes.

And I could use some serenity. I have not felt serene lately. My mom seems to be going downhill, especially this past week, and I worry about her constantly. I’ve been in a downward spiral of self-pity because I feel very alone in managing her care. She’s still living on her own, but I wish she wasn’t. It’s just beyond my control.

At my lowest point this week, I took out my frustrations on Jack, angry at him because he could not see inside of me and realize how scared and helpless I’ve begun to feel. I hope that I’m off-base, but I can’t help but shake the feeling that Mom’s body is simply wearing out. I’m not ready for that. I’m having trouble keeping my mind in the present, constantly battling against the tendency to imagine how much worse things might get if she keeps losing ground like she’s been. I disaster-fantasize that while I’m still working through the grief of my dad’s passing, I’ll be adding to it a fresh blanket of grief.

I keep reminding myself to think positive thoughts, but I’m having trouble remembering how.

Of my three siblings, one has typically been there to tag-team with me in taking care of Mom. But that sibling has had some struggles of her own building lately, actually for much longer than I’ve been aware. We talked yesterday and I learned that her burdens are way beyond anything I could have imagined. She needs to focus on her immediate family right now. She apologized for not being more involved with Mom. I told her not to worry. I said I could handle Mom. And I will stop being so reluctant and afraid to ask for help from the other two siblings. I have a new perspective and a huge reminder that when I think my struggles are more than I can handle, in comparison to others, I’ve got it good.

Last night after getting Mom settled for the evening, I went back to the home improvement store for yet more paint samples. I think I’m closing in on a combination that combines my love for fall colors with some serenity.


The four samples on the lower right are in the lead for winning colors.

My mom has had a bad week. She’s been extremely fatigued and uncomfortable. I took her to the doctor on Wednesday and he made a best guess as to the reason for her symptoms, of course, all the result of her debilitating chronic conditions. He put her on a broad spectrum antibiotic and advised that she would probably go downhill for another day, but if he had the issues pegged, the medicine should kick in by today. If not, I’ll be taking her back to the doctor and worst-case-scenario, to the hospital. But I’m hopeful that the magic meds do their job and she’ll feel stronger today.

Jack and I were invited to go with friends to a St. Paul Saints baseball game tonight. It sounded like such a welcome opportunity since my days have become so routine. (Gym, work, time with Mom, bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.) I was reluctant to commit to the game before I knew if someone else could prepare dinner for Mom and even better, share the meal and spend some time visiting with her. She spends way too many hours alone as it is, and I don’t want a day to go by without someone stopping in to at least check on her well-being in person. I reached out to my youngest brother and was pleasantly surprised when he readily agreed.

Hopefully Mom will report that she’s feeling better this morning. If so, I’m going to a ball game and diving into a long weekend of paint therapy.

8 thoughts on “Paint Therapy

  1. I don’t know what to say about the whole siblings not stepping in thing. From all the people I’ve talked to it just seems to be the way it is. There are some who serve and some who don’t.


  2. Glad your brother can spell you off with your mom’s care once in a while. At least you have three others to ask. I have one sister, and she’s “worthless” when it comes to helping with mom. Sigh.

    And I love your friend’s recommendation of adding a spot of green to your living quarters! Kind of like bringing a little nature into your home. So restful and so accommodating when it comes to coordinating with other colors!


  3. Tee I was leaning towards browns, too, but ultimately went with Greens – why? It brings the outside in!! I am having the new kitchen/living room painted a sagey green and the tall cathedral walls (2) painted a darker woodsy green. LOVE IT ~ it really is calming and inviting.

    You have your hands full with your Mom’s care and a night off at the ball game is just what you need – hope it was fun and please post pics of your finished walls 🙂

    Hugs, MJ


  4. You’ve been under so much pressure in taking care of your mom along with all your other to-dos. This is a big emotional burden as well as a physical and time-consuming one. Don’t forget to take care of yourself too! Happy painting!


  5. This post reminded me of my second most favorite author, Calvin Miller. At the bookstore, I opened him once to a random page and read:

    “As a watercolorist, I understand the principle of contrast in art.  Setting dark objects against light backgrounds makes art possible.  This simple technique creates form as it moves objects around in the painting.  As images blend in color, they retreat to the rear of a canvas.  As they contrast in color, they move forward in the painting.  During one of those nameless, small crises out of which my life – and every life – is shaped, God reminded me of His own artistry in my life.  He had long been at work to produce art from the mucky palette of my discipleship.  But on this one occasion, my usual talkative spirituality sat in silence before him.  I listened to his accounting of the greatest moments of my life.  There were not many that came quickly to my mind. Still, they stood like monuments of joy in the level and uninteresting deserts of my journey.

    Next, he played across the cinema of my mind the darker events of pain and disappointment I have known. As I examined these two very different lists of joy and pain, I was surprised to find both lists identical. God is a wonderful artist whose contrast of bright joy and dark needs creates life. These contrasts remain in full view from year to year as reminders that joy and pain are but opposite ends of the same great lessons of God.
    These lessons are never hard to identify.  Like oysters, we believers all react the same way when a hunk of sharp silica enters our shells.  We cry and complain; we even rail against God.  But the pearl is born in the pain, built by coating our adversity with maturity.  As each lesson of life passes, we move on to others. We glory in knowing that at the core of our best pearls there exists a ragged hurt that once stabbed us with ripping pain. His grace pearlized our pain with dependency. Our deep moans gave way to glad Hosannas!  He transformed our hurt into a beautiful, usable ministry.
    “I will turn their mourning to joy.” (Jeremiah 31:13)
    —Calvin Miller, Walking With Saints

    I bought nearly all his books since reading that, long ago.

    As you paint your walls as home, Tee, blare some music…like “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones, or “White Rabbit” from Jefferson Airplane, or Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison….for the right mood to paint.
    Then, paint over all of your troubles in each stroke on the wall, and witness the joy that develops.

    Oh, and read this Calvin Miller to your mom when you tell her of your coloring plans for your walls. She’ll like it.
    Last, add a hug from me to her too.

    Peace and grace,


  6. Oooh! I want to see pics of the finished walls! I bet they’re going to look beautiful!
    And I certainly hope it creates a serene atmosphere for you. You absolutely deserve to have some peace and serenity. And a night at the ball game. Hope you were able to go!


  7. I can relate, Tee. I’m dealing with similar issues. My mom is not doing well, either. I have one sibling who is of no help. Brothers don’t seem as involved. It seems the old saying is true, “A son is a son until he takes a wife. A daughter is a daughter for all of her life.” I don’t talk about my mom’s health issues on my blog for a number of reasons, one being that she reads my blog.

    I can also relate to your usual color schemes. In my house in Florida I always went with brown or tan earthy tones. We just bought a new house that needs a coat of fresh paint. We aren’t moved in yet, and hope to hire painters to do the job. I decided to go with green this time, too.

    Seems we’re going through some similar things. I hope the meds have improved your mom’s health. Blessings to you.


  8. I love the colour blue myself but the colour would look hideous on my wall. Yes, we chose our colour to match the furniture (and drapes). Oh well, i am no decorator to talk sense.
    I hope you mom get well soon.


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