Friday, September 2, 2016

Pop of Color

One of my favorite past times is watching HGTV and perusing home decorating/improvement magazines.  I will happily sit and look for hours at how to take something bland or broken and turn it into something useful and beautiful.  I love watching stories unfold through the places people choose to live. 

There are a few houses in our neighborhood that I just think are so beautiful on the outside.  We live in an older neighborhood. Not a neighborhood with quaint 100 year old houses.  I'm talking about houses built in the 70s and 80s (like 1970 and 1980).  Most of the houses are dull brick with bland trim.  Let me pause and give this specific time period credit in regards to home design .  The houses in our neighborhood are not yardless, cookie-cutter houses.  We bought in our neighborhood because of the mature trees, large rooms and closets, and the pool in the backyard all at an affordable price.  But character... we have to create the character.  So if I drive past a house and it causes me to do a double take...well, I look again.  I am drawn to houses with just a pop of color.  Whether it is a yellow awning, red door, big pink crepe myrtles, or contrasting, colorful trim, I am drawn to the house that is classic and polished with a pop of color. 

Ten years ago, I traveled to Latvia on a mission trip.  Latvia is a little Eastern European country that was once part of the USSR.  The contrasting building structures told a story of life before communist Russia and one of life during.  We stayed in a grey, concrete building that houses teachers during the school year.  Every room was bland, uniform and the plumbing was questionable.  No color.  No life.  These concrete buildings were built one after another after another.  During our off time, we spent a few evenings in downtown Riga and walked along cobblestone streets lined with beautiful, interesting buildings.  Each building was unique and full of character.  After staying in the communist buildings, I truly appreciated the character and uniqueness of the Latvian buildings. 

Buildings built during the communist period in Latvia.

Latvian buildings that are unique and full of character.

One of the things we noticed on our trip to Latvia was how incredibly beautiful the flowers are.  The color seems so vibrant and breathes life and hope into their setting.  The flowers can be found in the landscaping of the town square, window boxes of the homes, or they would pop up in the unexpectedness of every day life.  The pop of color among the remnants of communist Russia is a visual experience that will stay with me forever.

 I cannot get enough of these pictures.  Imagine living in a country void of hope and walking by seeing this...

This morning, I stopped at the end of our street and looked at the house in front of me.  The same house I drive past several times a day.  And there it stood with its yellow awning and I thought how fun it must be to have a yellow awning.  The yellow awning made me happy.  It causes me to wonder about what is inside of the it just as colorful, whimsical, and bold.  I turned left to begin my afternoon of school pick ups and I pondered my love for a pop of color and why it gives my heart so much joy.  As I thought about this idea of color, I remembered the beauty in Latvia amongst the oppression and uniformity. 
The pop of color in these different environments exudes life,
 happiness, and refreshment.  I want to surround myself with pops of color.

Pop of Color

But the truth is, I want to BE a pop of color.  I don't want to be like the communist buildings in Latvia.  They all looked the same with no individuality.  They are functional, serve a purpose, and overly predictable.  I want to be like the Latvian buildings full of history and a story.  I want to stand out in a crowd...not for the attention to be on me, but rather to be a beacon of light, truth, and joy.  When someone talks to me, I want them to want to be around me.  I don't want to bring negativity and pessimism to the conversation, but rather hope and encouragement. 

Whether we live in our suburban, American neighborhood surrounded by Christian churches and "church" folks or we live in a former communist country, there is still room and a need for a pop of color.  We fill our churches with people playing a part, but I want to be amongst people living a part.  We practice common courtesy on the street and at the store.  We ask one another "how are you", but we don't stop to listen, really listen.  We live our lives like the concrete, communist buildings because it is easier and we can go unnoticed.  But I have the strongest desire to be something more.

I want to be

A pop of hope
A pop of encouragement
A pop of joy
A pop of laughter
A pop of listening
A pop of understanding
A pop of truth
A pop of life
A pop of happiness
A pop of love
A pop of Jesus

I think there is a reason why designers incorporate colorful accents into home décor.  I believe that it is what draws people into the setting, creates a colorful story, and creates a polished visual experience.  I want to draw people in because it is only then do I truly have permission to share my story with them.

This month, I am going to put my thinking cap on and do two things.  First, I am going to find something to put on our front porch that is a pop of color.  This item will remind me to do the second thing.  I am going to take a good look at my life and how I live it each day.  Am I pop of color to those in my home?  Neighborhood?  Church?  Community?  World?  Am I someone that you want to be around because the love of Jesus is pouring out of my words and actions?  Or am I communist concrete building lined up neatly with all of the other buildings?

Oh, how I want to be a POP of COLOR!

No comments:

Post a Comment