Ten years ago, I was moving back into this house after a five month sojourn around town. The house had burned in March and we spent the spring and summer inhabiting interesting digs: a condo designed for folks who wanted a nice place close to campus for football weekends, followed by the summer in an apartment complex where is was us “old guys” and a bunch of male college sophomores. That was interesting. I was growing herbs (basil, rosmary, sage, etc) in a window basket. It took the neighbors weeks to get up the nerve to ask about the vegetation in the planter. I think that they were both disappointed and relieved to discover than these were for cooking, not for smoking.

Back to the house.

One of the really sweet things about this rebuilding was the fact that I picked paint colors, and someone else did the painting. What a concept. The coordinated colors went together well. They were on the walls for 10 years. But, in many respects and in many parts of the house, like the living room and hall, they were safe, neutral ginger cream off-white. That made things light (good thing), but not very inspiring. The intense color in the kitchen has been my favorite. And, that was the inspiration for the new paint. So, far, we have sage in the formerly pale living room which sets off the leather couches and the furniture (and the shiny white trim) in a way that I find comforting and inspiring. And the hall has more color, albeit something called Sand Motif.

So — how does this get to renewal? My understanding of a sacrament is that it is an outward (physical) sign of an interior grace (change/process). This new color scheme is a sign to me that somehow I have healed and grown and find myself more free to express this in an outward manner. I fussed over the colors. I studied the combination of colors. I got the quote from a long time friend and excellent painter. I was really concerned about how this living room (and other rooms) would look. This is a new wardrobe for my living space.

Yesterday, when I headed out to the gym, the walls were ginger cream. When I got back, the first coat of sage greeted me — and filled me with joy. I love it. I love the way things look. It affirmed that inner feeling in a visible way. Sacrament.

True, a new coat of paint can be just a cosmetic enhancement or it can reveal something that just needed to get out. This color change seems to be a bit like spring with new colors and new growth. In time, it will move to summer and fall and become just another part of the backdrop of life. I will grow accustomed to it and probably not think about it. It will become a part of the house. But for now, I’m enjoying the beginning of something new.