I spent a great deal of time cleaning paint brushes today. As a mom of many, there are MANY things that go undone. Dusting, matching socks, and scrubbing baseboards to name a few. I don’t have the spotless house with the beautiful decorations. Side note: If you have children, I praise you if your day has you accomplishing made beds, place settings at dinner, and organized closets. You are truly my hero. It just isn’t my thing.
Sometimes I get that itch to complete a task no matter what it takes. As noted above, I am obviously not a perfectionist, but that mentality sometimes just kicks in. Today was that day, my day, to clean the paint supplies. I wanted it done right, and the brushes were giving me problems. I probably spent at least an hour trying to remove the paint from these brushes. I had a goal, and all I could think of is that the blue paint on the yellow brush just had to be removed whatever it took.
I got an epiphany doing this very menial project. I had just given up hope that the brushes would never come clean. It took a while with the cups, but these brushes required time, effort, and a little extra work. Never-the-less, I pressed on.
I began to think about how as humans, we can place things on ourselves (and each other) that were never meant to be there. Maybe you were raised understanding having white skin meant you were superior. Perhaps you believe that the word nigger is what you call your friends. Are you a mom who feels the failure when your kids don’t act perfectly? Hopefully, you will agree that these mindsets can be harmful. They become like the dried up paint on the paint brushes I feverishly scrubbed. These mindsets can be that thing that stays with you and affects you the rest of your life. It can rob your sanity, affect your perception of others, and even impact how you view yourself.
When you don’t wash paint brushes, the paint hardens and the bristles clump together. The brush doesn’t work quite as well. If your kids are like mine, they will use the brushes anyway, and add to the mess they already made by not cleaning them when they were finished the first time.
The finished painting always tells the story of the condition of the brushes that were used, and every day we paint pictures. As I add to my life portrait, do I carry the baggage of my parent’s upbringing? Does my life reflect the colors of social hostility due to the color of my skin? Did I harden my brush in the paint of unrealistic expectations?
The best way to remove paint is by using a paint thinner. My paint thinner of choice is renewing my mind. I have to change the way I think. I can’t spend my days saying this is just how it is. I am a failure. I don’t measure up. Something has to change.
Until today, I thought it was impossible to remove all the paint, even it is was washable. But I was determined. Life throws lots of paint our way, and you have to constantly apply paint thinner, wash, and repeat. In other words, renew your mind, wash out the junk, and repeat to stay the course. Reflect on some of your views and find out what must go. Soak your mind in those life-giving perceptions, and apply some elbow grease to remove the caked up nonsense. Sooner or later, you won’t allow the build-up.
I pressed on, and I accomplished my goal. Don’t you love the picture my 4-year-old daughter painted with the clean brushes? When I clean my brushes, she has a better chance of her brushes needing a little less work. After all, the paint brushes did start out clean. Washing your brushes will become just a normal, everyday routine. And your pictures, as well as your children’s pictures, will be brighter and more beautiful as a result. Until next time my friends….scrub, wash, repeat!