The other day, my sister and I repainted an old dresser in preparation for her friend, Pam, to visit and “distress” it. We diligently chose the correct type of paint and special tools for the process. We then spent hours spraying and re-spraying to get a nice, smooth finish and hide the old color. We did our best to avoid drips and smudges and uneven spots.
Truthfully, we did not get the result we wanted. The new paint didn’t look smooth or even or anything close to perfect. We couldn’t make it look new.
Pam arrived. She is an expert furniture re-finisher… at least compared to us. Unconcerned with our paint job, she quickly set to work with her electric sander. She intentionally rubbed off our carefully applied paint. She focused on the areas where typical wear and tear appear. She sought out our drips and uneven spots and sanded there with extra attention. She explained that often the more worn the piece looks, the more valuable it is at the store.
As she sanded, I thought about how this process is much like my life. I sometimes try hard to paint over my imperfections and my worn out spots. I attempt to present a smooth, even finish in my attitudes and actions. I work to hide my weaknesses in character. I want to avoid mistakes, errors and the evidences they leave behind… and it doesn’t turn out that well.
On the other hand, I often appreciate a person who displays a few unique “worn spots” in their life. The vulnerability and authenticity of imperfections are often more beautiful than an attempt at false perfection. Sometimes, loving attention given to weak areas adds value. The people who come alongside and help us in that process are a treasure… and the defects become highlights.
How do you view the defects in your life?