Since my daughter hit the age of double-digits, Christmas shopping was difficult this year. Her tastes are more sophisticated now – and more expensive.
However, I was excited about one gift I’d gotten her: a beautiful brocade dress in wintry shades of red and black. I stuck it under the tree, then let her open it a few days early to wear to church.
The dress fit her well, but there was just one problem. She had no dress shoes except for a pair of silver ballet flats from last Easter, which looked bizarre with black tights. And we had to get to Christmas evening church in twenty minutes.
I quickly grabbed a can of black spray paint and took the shoes out to the front porch. It was forty degrees and rainy, which are the least ideal conditions for spray painting. I coated them in black and sat them in a cardboard box while I rushed inside to get ready.
When I came back to the shoes ten minutes later, the paint hadn’t dried a bit, so I brought them to the bathroom and blasted them with a hair dryer. It occurred to me that hot paint fumes might kill me, so I flipped on the bathroom fan. In the midst of the whirring frenzy, the phone rang – my sister. I told her I was very busy blow-drying shoes I’d just painted for church.
“That’s the most redneck sentence I’ve heard in a long time!” she laughed. “I just gotta ask: did Phil know what he was getting into when he married you?”
Just then, Phil walked in from work and asked if we were ready for church. Then he asked why I was blow-drying shoes in the bathroom.
People ask a lot of questions.
Anyway, he wasn’t surprised. What some people call redneck I call resourceful.
We made it to church breathless, with no time to spare. She slipped on her newly-black shoes and hurried across the parking lot, avoiding puddles. As we walked into church, I trailed behind her on high alert for black footprints. There were none. And I didn’t even smell paint fumes during the service!
Rust-Oleum for the win!
Under normal circumstances, I love to spray paint. When the temperature rises above 65 degrees, I start looking around the house for things that might look cool in a fresh, new color – picture frames, small furniture, you name it. While our shoe-painting emergency was not a case of painting for fun, the result is the same: taking something old and making it new. By the magic of aerosol paint particles, nothing is wasted.
I like this idea.
When it comes to yard sale finds and wall décor, nothing is wasted. When it comes to shoes in the wrong color, nothing is wasted. And even when it comes to experiences in our lives – whether accomplishments or disappointments or heartache or joy – nothing is wasted.
Last week I woke up on my birthday filled with thanks. “Thanks, God,” I said in a sleepy stupor. “I get another one!” Another birthday. Since my last one, successes have slipped through my fingers. I wonder why; still, I trust that nothing is wasted.
Nothing is wasted because God wastes nothing. God is the original up-cycler, turning fig leaves into clothes, water into wine, depression into dancing, old things into new.
So when I wonder, was all that writing for nothing? I know deep down it was not. Truly, nothing is wasted. That’s the joy of knowing God can redeem the unworkable, old silver ballet flats of our lives.
That’s the joy of spray painting.