Friday, August 12, 2011

Those High Ledges

What is it that some builders are thinking when they create the very high ledges in today's houses? Drama, I guess.  Dimension, perhaps?  Disaster?  No, they don't think of that.

We have had three houses with shelves or ledges or otherwise scary places for decorating.  So far we have been transferred to another state before it became absolutely essential that these high places get a new coat of paint.  

In the meantime, I cannot leave a wall bare. I am neurotic about hiding all electric cords (do you ever see them in the decorating magazines?!), and those high places cannot be left unadorned (for long).  I hang quilts on our walls to absorb noises so it doesn't sound like we are living in Carlsbad Caverns.  I decorate the high places because they cry out to me for something!  In my imagination I have built a black, spiral iron staircase up to the heights, installed railings, and bookcases to make good use of the areas. 

Beloved, who says if I were not in his life, would probably be content with a TV, a recliner, and an orange crate with a lamp on it, has yet to agree to the spiral stairs idea.  So in the meantime, I ask him to pull out his longest ladder and we add stuff to the ledges.  I used to do that all myself, taking delight in arranging all manner of things, both antique and just junk that looks good from a great distance, in captivating groups.  The female children in my family have even helped me while Beloved just shook his head.


But then there was the fall.  No, not from grace, but definitely from good sense, I guess.  I had been standing on the kitchen countertops for years and years with nary a mishap when one evening I met the floor with a crushing impact that earned me a ride in an ambulance and surgery the next day to replace and repair what remained of my left shoulder.  

Make no mistake, our loving God allows us to experience injury when it serves our best interests.  Let's see, what did that experience teach me?  

-an ambulance gurney will fit into my kitchen and out the front door 
-the ambulance driver doesn't use his siren for non-life threatening cases, even if the patient feels near death
-morphine is a wonderful thing
-don't believe the first diagnosis they give you -- it may be worse than that
-artificial replacement parts are a blessing; without them a lot of us would be cripples for life
-physical therapists are  your friends, but do what they say
-use facial moisturizer, lip gloss, and smile sweetly because  your hair is not going to be pretty when you can't reach up to style it
-accept that pain will be a constant companion for many, many months, but it does decrease with time
-compassion in a new dimension for the injured and disabled
-and more things that I cannot possibly list in one sitting -- I am still learning!

The most important thing I learned, above all, is that God is with me at all times and I can trust Him even when He has allowed such a thing to happen.  His ways are not our ways, but He's always got a good purpose in mind.  

Days after the accident, I stared at the ledge above the family room fireplace, worrying about how we would ever get all that stuff down sometime.  Every couple of years or so I used to get up there to dust.  That ledge was a lot higher than my kitchen countertops.  It now looked very scary to me.

One of our sons, who lives relatively close by, came several months ago and removed all the stuff from that ledge.  He is strong and still has a bit of that dare-devil in him that we all have when we are in our mid-thirties.  Beloved held the very tall ladder for him and he not only emptied the space of its contents, but also cleaned and spackeled a few holes for us while he was up there.

As time went on, however, that huge blank space started to bother me.  But I sure didn't want to gather all that stuff together again and arrange it.  We have several antique chairs that we never sit in -- frankly, they aren't that comfortable.  But they've been in the family for generations before us, so we don't get rid of them; they just take up a lot of closet space.  I decided they are actually artsy-looking, so Beloved climbed the high ladder this week and placed them as you see in the picture below.

There.  I think we are truly done with climbing the heights. The kitchen cabinets are bare on top and will remain that way.  The high places are as decorated as they are going to get.

That's my story about high ledges and I think I'd better stick to it!

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