Monday, July 24, 2006
My Life As A Kitchen
I’ll be forty next year. I know, that’s supposed to be a traumatic experience but considering the trauma of my twenties, I’m looking forward to it.
I once heard Oprah (speaker of all wisdom and truth) say this about life...(paraphrased) In your twenties you’re just clueless and trying to figure it out. In your thirties you’ve figured a lot out and now you’re trying to apply it. In your forties, you’ve got the knowledge and the skills and the experience and you’re ready to be.
I have never forgotten that. I heard it in my twenties and I was quite relieved that I was right on track with being clueless. I think it even spilled over into my thirties, so I might be in my fifties before I’m ready to just be.
So no, I don’t want to go back in time.
With the support and lobbying of my blogger community; the Mr. installed a dishwasher in my kitchen this weekend. As I’m writing this, it’s Sunday morning and daboyz are still asleep. The Mr. has already left for church. I just rinsed out my coffee cup and put it in the dishwasher. No more dirty dishes in the sink. No more drainer on the counter piled with clean dishes no one has bothered to put away.
I should add that last weekend the Mr. finished installing our new oak cabinets in the kitchen with new counter tops and floor. Our new grande size stainless steel fridge matches my sweet stainless steel dishwasher. Next is a matching stove.
This morning I put that dirty coffee cup into the dishwasher, loaded my coffee maker for the morning and was amazed.
I’ve come a long way baby.
With the help of my grandparents, we moved into this house just before the birth of our oldest in 1988. No money, no clue, no motivation, and generally overwhelmed at life and being grown-ups. Ahh, the twenties.
The house was built post World War II and had not been updated since its construction. Minimum cabinets, old and painted yellow. And being twenty one, I failed to see the charm of it. Oh, I was thankful for a home to bring my new baby to and certainly indebted to my family for enabling us to have it.
My grandpa replaced the old cabinets with ones he made. Stained exactly a color I would not have chosen, with counter tops I would not have chosen. He figured he knew best and it was his dime. True on both counts. His motivation was always love, with a side order of control. Love being the main course.
We installed the cheapest flooring we could find. Again, based on price and not preference. It was newer than what we originally had and I was grateful. The new cabinets my grandpa installed did not allow enough room for a dishwasher. Didn’t matter. I was so grateful to have a home I didn’t think twice about such extravagance..
Over the years we have painted those dark cabinets a lighter color or two. Lived with the dark counter tops. A few generations of cheap flooring went in here and there.
In the last several months, the Mr. added about eight feet of cabinets and counter top in our dining room, which was largish with much wasted space. Wow! I could put everything away and even had a little space left over!
Then he put in new cabinets over the stove, more storage. Newer. Again, wow.
New hardwood-look flooring. Not the cheapest, my choice.
Butcher block work table next to my stove with shelves for cookbooks.
And now, new sink, cabinets and dishwasher.
My life as represented by the evolution of my kitchen.
It’s just, as I stood there this morning, pushing open the fabulous lemon curtains my mom made me (because she understood exactly what I meant when I said I wanted them to look like Lucy’s Connecticut house), it did mean more than just work space and convenience.
In the twenties, I was vulnerable to my own limitations and anyone who was kind and generous enough to bail me out. And believe me, the bail-outs were constant.
I didn’t choose in my twenties, I just accepted.
This isn’t the house, the body or the life I would’ve predicted from back there. Some of my aspirations were much grander, some much smaller. Mostly I was just surviving.
This morning as I turned around in circles looking at this new kitchen I saw twenty years of learning, failing and grace written on the walls. I walk across not just oak-colored flooring but I walk on mercy and generosity.
I am surrounded with opportunities I blew, and those I learned to grab on to.
Life is easier here, a year short of forty.
Oh, it isn’t that life itself gets easier literally. It’s that I am better at living.
God has taught me to constructively criticize myself so that I learn from my mistakes.
He has taught me to ask forgiveness so I can put them behind me.
He has loved me despite myself so I can believe I am worth something more than I once thought.
God sent people to do the work of my life for me when I was too naive, stubborn and stupid to do it for myself.
He never stopped moving me forward to something better. Higher ground. Abundant life.
My kitchen. New & improved.
Just like me.
And it’s only gonna get better.
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
P.S. My poor MR., he worked all weekend getting that dishwasher installed and now the shower quit! Not that it's life and death, but couldya pray for him? Thanks! Oh, and he forbids me to post pics of the kitchen until the trimwork is done. Stay tuned.