The other day, I bought a used headboard for my girls' bedroom. Since it was used, there were some nicks and dings in the wood, and the stain was old. In my mind's eye, I could see the potential it had for looking so much better than it did when I bought it, so I decided to refinish it.
I started by taking it apart, spray-painting the metal parts, and repairing and sanding the wooden posts. Sanding was harder work than I realized it would be, (my arms are still sore), but it was fun smoothing out some of the rough parts and removing the worn and outdated stain.
When I finished sanding and repairing, I wiped down the posts, propped them up, and began applying the stain. I was amazed at the transformation that took place when the stain seeped into the crevices, and even the imperfections, adding depth and character to the wood.
Right then, a thought came to mind. I imagined what it would be like to be the poor post, being sanded and scraped, glued and pounded, then wiped with a cold damp cloth and rubbed with something toxic and sticky. It might be thinking, "What in the world are you doing to me? Just leave me alone and let me do my job of...whatever it is that bedposts do."
But from my perspective, I had seen the potential the wood had, and I was pleased with the transformation. I just kept thinking over and over how beautiful the wood truly was, it had just been hidden under all that old stain. Even all the imperfections I had once viewed as flaws became a unique part of the finished product. The outcome was worth the sanding, the scraping, the pounding, and the gluing.
I could even see how I apply this technique to my writing through editing. Sanding, pounding, applying finish, all make the final product shine as it should, because, a rough draft is really just that. Rough.
Then another thought came to my mind.
"You are like this post," the thought said.
"Me? No I'm not. Bedposts are stiff and rigid and straight, and they just stand there doing nothing all day. I'm more soft and flexible, and if you're implying that I do nothing all day, then-"
"I'm talking about the sanding."
"Oh, the sanding." Sometimes I feel like life is sanding me. Those are the times I cry in pain.
"Do you see where I'm coming from?" the thought said. "I so wish for you to see yourself and your potential as I see you, from My perspective."
"Whoa. Okay, I'll do my best."
And so I am.
Yes, sometimes life can be a bit scratchy, but how do I know that it isn't just a way of removing old worn out layers so that I can grow into my potential? Perhaps if I can just take a step back and view each scratchy situation as a work in progress, I can relax and allow the transformation to happen and be grateful for the process.