We took the doors off all the cabinets in our kitchen about three weeks ago. Our goal is to refresh the look of the kitchen by painting the worn out twenty-year old oak faces, and then put them back on.
As soon as the doors came off, a weird anxiety grabbed my spirit. Looking at all of our “stuff” in less than organized patterns made me want to slam the no-longer-present doors closed. Thankfully, that stress didn’t last as the physical practical work of painting took over.
Just as I settled into living with the constant exposure, we were asked to host our small group from church. We’ve been doing life with these dear friends for over five years, but still. The thought of everyone seeing what we normally have hidden behind doors sent me into a small panic. Of course they were gracious and we laughed at the practicality of serving a dinner when no one needed to ask where I kept the ____. There’s no need to ask when it’s in plain view.
That transparency with our friends was one step, but God had another level to take me to.
My son has a Youtube channel where he mainly posts videos of himself playing video games and doing random tricks around our neighborhood. But once in a while (like one other time in the past year), he posts cooking tutorials. Of course this month when we are living in a state of kitchen transparency needed to be the time for another cooking video. Even though his audience is primarily his middle school friends, I again took a deep breath in submitting to another opportunity for transparency.
Honestly, I don’t have anything to hide among my plates and glasses and spices.
Maybe my discomfort in having a door-less kitchen has a root in the exposure of choices I’ve made in how to organize. Or with the choices of what crazy mugs we’ve decided to keep (Hello Mr. Bean?). Ordinarily, I get to decide what to bring out onto the counter and what stays pushed to the back of the cabinet.
When given a choice, I’ll show you my pretty serving dishes, my French Fleur de Seul, and maybe I’ll bring out the tea collection I have to offer. But the chipped coffee mugs? The spices I’ve hoarded for way past their “best by” date, and the tan dishtowels that used to be white? Those stay hidden behind the doors and tucked behind something more beautiful.
My protective side will also self-select the stories to share. In our conversations, you might hear the stories of the successes we’ve had academically, the memorable vacations we experienced and the blessing of children who bring us so much joy. Never mind the stories describing years of isolation while studying, the meltdowns and bickering that vacations also bring, and the loss of babies we never had opportunity to hold.
Our kitchen refresh project is one step away from being complete and the doors will soon cover over the messy and less than beautiful parts we don’t talk about. The story we don’t share. Even as our kitchen doors will soon be able to close, I am thankful for the reminder to take down some of the less than beautiful pieces, the hard stories, to share once in a while.