Tired of Seeing Red

9:32 AMHeather

How many of us have to own up to something that "seemed like a good idea at the time?" Something like bi-level haircuts with curled under bangs in junior high? And polo shirts layered with the collars up. And super tight Jordache jeans. Or, children of the 80's-- how about Esprit and Swatches? Anyone? Then there were big bangs and permed hair in high school. And in my little town of Lampasas, Texas, high school fashion meant Justin roper boots with a matching belt. Why yes, I saved my money for months and drove all the way to San Saba, Texas, to get the unique color of PINK ropers so as to have a color no one else had.

Listen children and young people, it WAS cool. It was IN. We were rocking the trends. And it seemed like a good idea at the time.

That's what I slowly began to grasp about my red kitchen. I loved having a red kitchen. So much so, that when we moved 7 years ago in our big half-mile move, I was determined to bring the red to my new kitchen. Only this time, with less of a pink undertone and more of an orange undertone. So that it didn't look quite so Aggie (I sic 'em-- I don't gig 'em). I wanted more of a classy red.

After much debate and asking a million people and looking at what felt like hundreds of those paint chips, I chose my red. And our favorite painting brother duo, Fidel and Rafael, came and brought my dream to fruition.

I have to pause to tell on myself here. After the first day of painting, we came down to admire and inspect the kitchen. It looked SO ORANGE. I was completely freaked out. 

Then we realized it was only the primer.

Basically, I'm a painting genius. 

Alas, when all was said and done, and we had properly thanked our awesome and affordable painters, I reveled in the new colors. The red kitchen. And the adjoining "honey" colored family room. Also carefully chosen. It all made me so happy. 

Listen, it seemed like a good idea at the time. 

But gradually, as I saw photos in these rooms and the walls in the background, I realized something.

I had a whole ketchup and mustard situation.

That's how it looked to me. 

Ketchup and mustard. 

For a while, I convinced myself that the photos were skewing the true shades. That the pictures didn't do my fun and vibrant color choices any justice.

I lived in my denial for a nice long time. Until we received some cast-off furniture from a family member. Beautiful pieces. In grays and smokey blues and mostly neutral.

Um, yeah. So about that red kitchen and honey family room... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

And in my usual manner, the more I realized it, the more I hated it. And the more frenzied I felt about fixing it. 

WHO wants to be known as the ketchup and mustard house? Unless you have some weird obsession with hot dogs.

The bottom line was that I was tired of seeing red. I was ready for something more calming and tranquil. Something more relaxing. Something reminiscent of the beach house we used to frequently borrow for free.

Basically, it's a complete metaphor for my life. The fatigue of seeing red and the desire for more tranquility.

I have this uber strong sense of justice. That generally revolves around my rights and being respected and being treated as I deserve. And what's fair and what's just plain common sense.

Oh, tell me, American Airlines. WHY can't I purchase a priority boarding pass so my kid can gate check his bag? Because you are operating a flight purchased through United? BUT DIDN'T YOU MERGE? Oh, not your computer systems? I am trying to give you money in your whole nickel and diming scheme. Take my money and help my kid. And please quit talking to me so rudely. 

(deep breaths, deep breaths...even as I read what I just wrote, which is obviously not hypothetical but a true story!)

It's super fun being me. Just live in my head for a while. God has a great sense of humor because I have a kid just like me. And every time I want to talk this child off a ledge, I realize I'm talking to myself.

The end result of all this, "But that's just wrong!" and "Don't treat me that way. It's not fair!" is that I can easily be moved to frustration. I can stew in my own juices for quite some time. Safe to say I'm no type B, laid back kinda gal. 

High strung?

Sure. Let's go with that.

But, this past Friday, as my hand cramped to a permanent claw while I painstakingly primed over my red kitchen, I realized something.

I'm tired of seeing red.

It's exhausting. 

It drains my energy and usually gets me nowhere.

Besides the same effect it has by osmosis on these poor people who have to live with me. So often wound up about something. 

I can rationalize it all the live long day.

It's not really ketchup and mustard. It's fun and vibrant! 

But the truth is, it's not pretty.

It really is just ketchup and mustard. And I don't even like either of those condiments.

So often, the things that work me up fall firmly in the category of "my reaction seemed like a good idea at the time." But in hindsight, it rarely is a good idea. Because reacting is not really mature or productive. 

Responding? Yes. Thought out responses, maturely allowing time to sort through the issues... remembering some super important truths. That is always a good idea. Not just at the time but even in hindsight.

If I can only remember that when I am moved to anger, about 90% of the time it's because I've made a big fat idol of being respected and treated a certain way. Or because I worship at the altar of comfort and ease. And I see myself on a pedestal and everyone should realize how important MY needs are. 

Me, Me, Me. 

Yep. Mentally, I can lose about 42 years worth of living experience and revert to toddlerhood in about two seconds flat. What can I say? It's a gift.

The reality is that seeing red (emotionally, not in my kitchen) generally allows my emotions to dictate my day, steal my joy, and boss me around.

Seldom productive.

If I can only remember how tired I am of seeing red.

And thoughtfully cover over it with prayer. With gentleness. With grace. Remember that just as my white primer made my bright red kitchen look as clean and white as fresh snow, the blood of my Savior cleanses me. It covers me, and all my wretched, moody ways. And it makes me white as snow.

If I believe in God's grace to cover me, then how can I insult my Savior by extending anything less to everyone else?

With strokes of humility and patience and grace and love, may I paint over offenses and cover them with the commitment to live at peace with all men, as far as it depends on me. To remember that we are all bright, startling red with our own sin nature. 

But Someone paid a high price to fix that for us.

That we may not live with the chaos of seeing red and being stirred up and unhappy and demanding and selfish.

That we can value the tranquil and calm of a life disciplined toward peace rather than giving ourselves over the anger.

That we can see the red on the front end for what it is. Something that might seem like a good idea at the time, yet usually ends in regret.

Oh, that I can cover my tendency toward seeing red with the beauty of calm and peace. That I would embrace Sea Salt Blue not just as the color of my kitchen, but for the calm I choose when it comes down to reacting or responding.

Because I've grown weary of seeing red.

And who wants the permanent claw of a right hand that's been overworked with a paint brush and a roller to try to make up for past mistakes?

Look, I'm not as young as I used to be. Painting over past mistakes takes way more effort than when I was in my 20's.

May age also bring me wisdom emotionally and mentally.

And the cool breezes of good choices that calm and soothe my soul.

Sea salt blue! It's way prettier than red. Even if it WAS a classy red.

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