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Peel off the Layers!
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 A number of years ago my mother gave me the kitchen table that our family ate meals on back in the ‘50’s and ‘60's. I was not around in the '50's to enjoy those meals.  In my case, some of the fellowship around the table was spent in a high chair in the '60's. It was a drop leaf table that was actually very nice when it was new. By the time it was passed on to me, there were several coats of paint covering its original hardwood beauty. It was not an impressive sight. But I had seen pictures. I knew underneath all of that paint there was something of great beauty. I start stripping and sanding. And I figured out quickly that refinishing furniture was not for those lacking in patience! I saw various colors of paint representing different trends over the years. It was kind of fun seeing all of the colors that the table had been coated with over a period of three decades.

 

I find on a fairly regular basis that people are a lot like that table. People are not covered with coats of paint. They are covered instead with the trials and disappointments of life. When people are scarred by life, they tend to coat their hearts with a layer of protection, so they won't be hurt again. If those layers are ever scraped away, then something of great beauty is rediscovered.

 

There is an ironic twist when such beauty finally comes to the surface. People think that if their friends really knew them intimately they would no longer like them. That is not true at all. As each heart layer is removed, it is identified like the color of a coat of paint. Friends are able to see precisely what those whom they love the most have experienced in life. Perhaps a layer of grief over the loss of a loved one is stripped away. Or maybe it is the layer of abuse, or it could be the layer of a broken relationship. Perhaps it is the layer of abandonment

 

I find it helpful when those close to me expose the things that are layered across their hearts. I don't ever think less of them. In fact, as a rule I have greater respect and admiration for them. When all of the protective layers are peeled off, something of great beauty remains. We are able to see our loved ones in a new and refreshing light.

 

I don't take on many wood refinishing projects anymore. I am either getting lazy or my patience is getting thinner! If the truth be known, I am actually more interested helping people peel back layers off of their heart than I am in stripping off coats of paint. People are important. Helping another person experience healthy self-perception is really important. I do know this: I am NOT painting my kitchen table. I am afraid my kids my laugh at my choice of colors thirty years from now!


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