• toniclaremusic

Barn Door 3-17

"They call my building their home, but it will never fill the gaps if they don't love their own..."

In light of St. Patrick’s Day, I figured I would write about something green. My mind travels north to my family’s olive barn door in Virginia. There’s spots where the paint has chipped, resulting in curled-up flakes. Soon after we moved in, my dad and I discovered the door in an abandoned shed, left from the first owner who built our house in the 1930s. I used my ten-year-old, scrawny arms to help drag it outside. After we wiped off a layer of dust, my dad hinged it on the new barn to fill the empty space. It fit perfectly. My little sister and I painted it the color-- you guessed it-- green, and it looked good as new. I can still smell the strong, fresh coat to a point where I can taste the chemicals. I remember standing on the steps in the blazing sun, painting the outside of the door while she was doing the same, but on the inside. My entire body was covered with little blotches of green from impatiently splatting paint on the door. I remember peaking inside and seeing Frances steadily using her brush hand to stroke the wood. I couldn’t understand how she was so calm. I looked over her shoulder and could already hear the music we would play on that stage. It wasn’t a typical livestock barn; we had another one for that.

The green door symbolized nature, fulfilling a different purpose than the other trees surrounding it; tranquility, steadying when the wind blows; truth, having flaws that build character. Maybe that’s why green has always been a color I admire. I would like people to think of me as a consistent friend who will always care. My "door" is open for people to come inside.

But maybe when they walk in, the light is too bright, and they want to dim it. The furniture is too much, and they want to rearrange it. There’s holes in the wall that they want to plaster.

Their eyes are attracted to finding problems and trying to change them.

"Their eyes are attracted to finding problems and trying to change them."

Sure, the stage with live music may draw them in, but when they stick around for a while, they can't ignore the imperfect details. But this place is not theirs to transform. That place of transformation starts within themselves. Their own dark lights, broken fixtures, and empty holes. "Remove the wooden beam from your eye first, then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye." Matthew 7:5. They might feel comfortable in my building they call their home; but it will never fill the gaps if they don't reflect on and love their own.

The chips of green paint on the door is the aftermath of standing under the summer sun for hours-- after dragging it out of an abandoned place. If visitors can't value the history of how my "door" came to be, they can simply turn the knob and walk back out. My door will always be welcoming, but they must be open to what's inside.


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