I am in the middle of a DIY project that is about as much fun as drinking turpentine. I’m painting wicker furniture. NOTE TO ALL DIYers: painting wicker is NOT recommended for any DIY bucket list, especially if your find yourself in the third world Africa.
However, I did not know that painting wicker furniture could be so tough. Though one of my friends, who seemed to have wicker baskets and tried to paint them, told me earlier to refrain from involving in such activities, I did not pay heed to her words. Alas! I am now stuck with a boatload of misery and continuously reflecting on my decision-making skills!
Wondering why I am so depressed about the DIY task. Well, continue reading to discover! For one, the stain they sell here, which comes in only three colors, is mixed with a sealer that is designed to give the finished product a lovely glossy finish. CONSUMERS BEWARE: STAIN + SEALER = VARNISH. You know the glossy covering that you CANNOT get off of your trim and/or doors from your home built prior to 1975? Yup, that’s the stuff, and trust me, you can’t get it off yourself either, unless you plan to bathe in a tub of cooking oil or WD-40. It will give you that timeless finish (I think this stuff might actually make it into the Millenial Reign), but you will pay severely in time, sweat, tears and oil baths. But don’t worry, the scent of varnish that lingers in your home long after you’ve finished your project is complimentary. It took six hours to paint one wicker chair (I bought two chairs and two loveseats – you do the math) the other day, and I spent four hours today painting only the front of the other chair because I ran out of varnish. I know all these might sound like work for people who are not into DIY. Making a chair is an art and it takes TIME! I agree that my wicker chair is no gaming chair or may not substitute for the best high back office chair, which by the way, might be quite great for back support, but it is something. I mean, I am not really praising the one I have, primarily because I know it will give me a bad backache or deform my spine if I remain seated on it for a long time.
I think that for the sake of my spine, I should change my chair. Otherwise, I might soon grow a backache so severe that I would have to try treatment techniques like dry needling from Pursue PT. However, if the issue does not get resolved by the procedure, chances are that I would have to opt for something more invasive like surgery. (Note that I am a bit scared about going under the knife). That said, I seem to have heard about fellow gamers consulting surgeons like Dr Timothy Steel for surgery-related queries to remedy their spine ailments that developed due to poor posture (primarily caused by their chairs). That is why they might understand the importance of good sitting posture. And that is why I should learn a lesson from their circumstances and try to avoid making the same mistakes.
Anyway, I think I have blabbered too much about how to be healthy while playing games. But I think that it is time to go back to some other topic. However, I don’t think that I won’t tell you the part about spilling half of the can on the carpet at the same time that the water shut off for 8 hours for an unannounced span of “routine maintenance.”
I’ll be honest and admit that today wasn’t my favorite day. Oh, I forgot to mention that the power went out just after it got dark and before the water came back on. Did I mention that today wasn’t my favorite day?
To be even more honest, I’ll admit that I never quite thought through what moving to Africa would be like on a day-to-day basis. I never really thought about what it would be like to cook every meal from scratch with only a stainless steel frying pan, a mid-sized stainless steel pot, and a stove-top on the fritz. I never really thought about what would be like to vacuum my carpet with only the hose and the mini vacuum head attachment. I never really thought about what it would be like to manage living in a place with only two working outlets.
But despite today not being my favorite day, do you know how it ended? P. George and Carol Arman, who live directly across the way from us on the same property, popped over to invite us to play cards with them after dinner. Just before we were about to walk over, the power went out. We chuckled and asked ourselves if we were still going to play cards. Despite the power outage, we looked across the way and saw Carol lighting taper candles in old style candlesticks (you know the kind with the little tray and handle for your finger). So, we walked on over and were welcomed with open arms to commence a game of Rummy.
As we began to play, the seeming plagues of the day seemed to drift away. Despite being unshowered, unmake-uped, and covered in varnish, I found myself laughing and laughing, admiring the amazingly seasoned couple sitting across the table from us. There they were, in their 70s, living in a third world country with no water or power, having hearts big enough to share their evening with us.
How often is your heart big enough to embrace someone else when your own circumstances are less than ideal? If your heart is anything like mine, I dare say it’s not often. But, does this surprise us? We have nothing unless it’s been given us from heaven (John 3:27). We don’t have hearts or capacities big enough for anything unless it they’re given to us. It is incredible to think that God is always seeking to teach us, and that every circumstance affords us the opportunity to learn. We could stop and simply stand in awe that the Lord of Heaven and Earth would condescend to want to be so intimately involved in our lives that He would want to be our teacher, but then we would miss the opportunity to actually learn! The apostle Paul said, “I have learned to be content…in whatever state I am” (Phil. 4:11). I will again admit that this class of my life is now in session. I don’t know this discipline of contentedness as I ought to, but I am grateful that the heart of my Lord is arranging circumstances that will cause me to learn it. I trust that the end of it will be an enlargement of heart, and who would not ache to have a heart bigger than the one that currently resides within their chest? Who doesn’t wish that their life would have a greater field of vision than it currently does? I have to believe that the tender elderly couple we played cards with tonight yearned for one.
So as I finish typing this post by the light of a singular 60 watt light bulb in our living room/dining room/kitchen, I think of the verse from Christ’s sermon on the mount, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6). We all fall short much of the time, but that yearning will always be satisfied.
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercies,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.
Annie Johnson Flint
Until next time,