You missed a spot

"Piss Yellow."

"Piss Yellow." That's the paint color my brother deemed my childhood room to be -- a glowing, glaring shade that kept you up at night and jolted you awake in the day.

But seeing as I hadn't lived in that room for four years -- and seeing how the rest of the family couldn't walk by it without having seizures -- my mother decided to repaint the room a calmer, softer, more grown-up hue. So I went home this past weekend to help.

We took down the shades. We pushed the furniture together. We laid out the dropcloths. We taped the edges. We covered up the nail holes from my artwork, the nicks from my bed frame, the scuff marks and drips and water damage.

The industrious paint manager.

As the new paint color ("Adobe Straw") went up, I was surprised by my non-nostalgia. My old yellow had a good run. It saw me through my high school, college, and young adult years. And in those years my art on my walls and my conversations near the window evolved.

But it was time to start fresh, to reflect the current reality. The room needed a second chance and a healthy dose of reinvention. It was, at its core, the same room -- same windows, doors, layout -- just renewed.

It took two solid coats to make that obstinate yellow disappear. Mostly. If you look closely in certain hard-to-reach corners, you'll see it around the trim or behind my imprecise brushwork. I like that imperfection, though, especially contrasted with the room's new vitality. The juxtaposition will help me remember where I came from and what the room once meant. It will remind me that as paint goes, so does life: one stroke at a time.

Paint freckles.

Prayer #201: Paint Chip

What do I look like in every light? What flatters me? What flattens me? Do I change shades? Appear darker or brighter? Am I warm or cool? Am I what you expected me to be?

God, add me to your cosmic palette. Throw me in gulping globs over dull man-made walls and fling me Pollack-like toward the sunset -- a magnificent, impermanent, firmament streak.

Treat me as a rough canvas, a sketch worth revising and repainting. I will never look the same way twice, but that is precisely Your vision.