Daily Prompt: Clean Slate

Explore the room you’re in as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Pretend you know nothing. What do you see? Who is the person who lives there?
Daily Prompt: Clean Slate

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“Oh my,” I think to myself as I’m greeted by the short overweight woman’s friendly smile and she invites me to sit at her dining room table, which is covered by a gaudy lime green  Christmas table-cloth covered with red and white striped candy canes. The table-cloth matches nothing in the room… It doesn’t match anything in the entire house, but this woman doesn’t even seem to care. 

Directly across from me sits a pellet stove atop a beautiful deep dark red brick hearth, which is approximately five feet by five feet. It looks very old fashioned, and the lovely brick hearth rests in the right hand back corner adjacent to the kitchen and climbs the two walls around five and a half feet in height. The hearth is capped by a brick mantle about six inches wide, on top of which rest black framed photographs of the woman’s many grandchildren. 

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Above and beside the hearth is unfinished drywall. It’s as if someone began a home improvement project that was never completed, but again, the woman who sits at the table across from me doesn’t seem to mind it. Next to the hearth is a single window, which is covered by white mini blinds, which are closed. The woman explains that the window and pellet stove are on the north side of the house, which is the coldest, and receives the most wind in the winter, so the mini blinds stay closed. “Besides,” she grins at me, “it’s not like there’s a great view. The window overlooks my neighbor’s driveway and house, and I don’t want them to think I’m spying on them,” she laughs gaily.

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In the next corner is a lovely beech wood china hutch, which sits caddy corner, holding her husband’s great-grandmother’s china, which consists of white plates and bowls with turquoise and red willows, lined in silver trim. The sugar bowl, and the coffee cups have turquoise exteriors, and white interiors, again, lined with silver.

All in all, the hutch and the china are lovely, which is what makes the next wall seem completely out of place. On the next wall, which faces the front, west side of the house, are twin windows, side by side, covered with white mini-blinds, which are closed. These blinds are also kept shut year round, because they are drafty in the winter, and in the summer, they allow the air conditioning to escape. The wall on either side of the windows is a beautiful, aged knotty pine wall. Directly in front of these windows sits a dusty, plush green recliner that has clearly seen better days, and is loaded with books and dvd’s. The woman laughingly explains that her husband and son-in-law forgot to load the chair when they went to the dump a couple of months ago, and so there the chair remains, collecting books and dust.

Beside the chair is the woman’s printer, computer tower, and a telephone with a very short cord. Above the computer rests a cordless phone. Again, the woman laughs as she explains that the cordless phone no longer works, and the corded phone was given to her, and since she can’t afford to buy another phone right now, she makes do with the short-corded phone. I’m not sure why the broken phone remains hanging on the side of the woman’s bookshelf, unless, like the green recliner, her husband and son-in-law forgot to take it to the dump also.

Next, is the spot where the woman says she spends most of her time. The combination desk with bookshelves is built into the knotty pine wall and is also knotty pine. The prior owner from many years ago had built this, and it is quite lovely. I note right away that this woman must be an avid reader, as the shelves are filled to the ceiling with books. Also, as I look at the books on the shelves, as well as the ones in the green recliner I see at least ten different bibles. 

I look at the woman in askance, “Why so many bibles?” I question.

“Oh, I love to read the different versions,” she replied. “Sometimes the wording of one translation speaks to me more clearly than another might.”

“But don’t they all say the same thing?” I question.

“Sure they do, but even though they say and mean the same thing,” she replies, “the wording of one translation may bring things to light in a clearer way.”

I nodded. That makes sense. Anyway, continuing, I notice that most of the books are religious. I ask the woman about that, and she smiles and says, “I’m a Christian, and I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. He is my passion, and I love to talk about Him, read about Him and study His word. 

“Do you see that chair in front of the desk?” she queries, then continues when I nod in acquiescence, “I spend a lot of time there. Sometimes, I waste my time and play silly computer games, but other times, I write. I write posts for my blog. I write poetry, and I work on writing my book. I also spend a lot of time burning worship cd’s which minister to me and to others.” Indeed, as I look closer, I see that she has a stack of cd’s on the stand next to her desk.

As I look around, I also can’t help but notice that the woman has papers strewn about in various places, and I have to ask, “How can you find anything?”

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Again, she bursts into gales of laughter. “Sometimes I can’t,” she replies. “If you ask me to find something on the computer, you will find that I am extremely organized. Everything is organized in files and folders. But alas!” she says dramatically, “I’m horrible with paper. I just can’t seem to organize myself. I try, and I will go through like a whirlwind and clean things up, but within a short period of time, I will again have this disarray to contend with.”

As I look around the room, and then look behind me into the living room, I’m struck by the contrast, and I question her about it. “My husband is just the opposite of me,” she replies. While I have a very abstract-abstract personality, my husband has a concrete-concrete personality. I think he has OCD,” she confided. “He has to have things very neat and organized, or it throws him off kilter, while I, on the other hand, am simply scattered. Therefore, in order for him to have some semblance of peace, I’m careful not to leave a mess in the living room.”

Again, she grins mischievously, “At least I try most of the time. There are too many occasions when I miss the mark, but praise God! I’m married to a good man who is very forgiving.”

I peruse the room one final time before I must leave, and in spite of the clutter, despite the seeming chaos of papers, there is a warmth here and a peace that I am loath to leave. “You’re welcome to stay awhile,” the woman lovingly invites, and as she offers me a drink, I find myself accepting her offer. “That’s what it is,” I think to myself. “The warmth I feel in this house is love. I believe I’ll abide in the warmth of this woman’s abode for a little while longer.”

And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.

(Colossians 3:14 NLT)

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