My daughter thought I’d love the thing she rescued from a friend’s truck headed dump-wards. She thought right. Now the old door, chartreuse on one side, white on the other; veined as a centenarian, flaking and rotten around the keyhole, stood against a wall near my own back door.
Waiting for redemption.
We started the job, Butterfly Bean and I, with cloths, scrub brushes, and a bucket of hot water. The garage sheltered us from the frigid wind. Not warm in there, nor bright. Daylight showed through the small window on the east side, and a solitary bulb suspended overhead helped some. Every five minutes, I ran to press the round white garage door button. Once to lift. Once to stop. And once to close. That kept the wind out and another light on.
Her little hands pink under transparent rubber gloves, my first ladybean scrubbed fiercely, matching my efforts. Every so often she picked up a brush and scraped a bit of paint that wanted free. “This door sure is dirty, Nana.”
“Sure is, honey.” Then, because I didn’t want her to get bored, I said, “But there’s something special about it, d’ya know?”
She paused, eyes bright in the gloom. “What’s special?”
“It has stories, Butterfly. Lots and lots. Every time it turned on its hinges, for all those years, it got a new one.”
She’s a story girl, that child. She sings them, plays them, immerses herself in them—like her mama.
“Tell me.” Excitement barely contained.
“Well…don’t know them exactly. But it has tales, sure as a bed has covers. And they likely started at a tiny house near here, a very long time ago, the day someone hung it in the front doorway of…”
“Hmmm, let’s call him Mr. Larkin….”
Our coat cuffs sodden with dirty water, Butterfly and I scrubbed and told stories. We rolled them back and forth between us like snowballs. Until they got big. Until they felt real and solid in our minds.
We storied that door clear to clean, she and I, till her lips and fingers blued with cold, and the old stories stood still.
The old door has a new story now, one it tells from its position over our queen-sized bed, white side out…
Who, me? Used up? Ugly? Ah…but l have a story. Got time? Forgotten, I was. Headed for the pit, till someone found me, loved me, and plucked me out. Said I was worth the trouble, scrubbed away my grime and told me who I was. Washed away the dirt, but left my character and my story. Gave me a new life, a new purpose, and a new story. That’s my story…and I’m stickin’ to it.
Redeemed. It’s the story of every Christ-follower, including this columnist.