When I was a child, a gift was given to me. It was a hand-made wooden step stool designed and built by my father. I was too short to reach the bathroom sink on my own. He painted it red.
When I was a child, I did not appreciate the step stool. I thought it was unfair. My siblings had red wooden rockers. I wanted a rocker too.
As time allowed me to grow, I did not need the step stool to reach the bathroom sink. Yet my resentment of the step stool did not lessen but instead my ill-will toward that object grew as I became more and more aware of the character of my father. The object was held onto out of duty to his position as a father, a twisted obedience to “For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother'”. Eventually the step stool was painted blue to match the current décor and used as a plant stand.
Now as an adult, the step stool has a permanent place in my home with an essential purpose. The corner between the bed and chest of drawers near the closet is where you will always find it. It is 16 inches wide, 12 inches deep and 12 inches tall. There are places where the blue paint has been scratched and the red from underneath is evident. There are places where the wood has splintered and there is no paint color at all. There is even an accidental brush of white paint here and there.
Now as an adult, that step stool is used daily and sometimes multiple times throughout the day. It is the perfect height, width and depth for me to sit upon while I am dressing or changing shoes. It is lightweight and easily portable for me to carry and place by the back door. Yard shoes tend to be in a bit of mess and quite muddy and the step stool isn’t harmed by my dirty clothes when I sit to remove the muddy shoes before entering my home.
I use the object now without rancor or negative connotations. My home is a well-balanced mix of objects from childhood and objects recently purchased, of items handcrafted and items mass produced. Occasionally a jab is made, “That’s the only good thing your daddy ever did for you.” It hurts to hear, not because it is a jab at the man, but the barb is an attack from the past trying to reclaim the present. It also reveals where in the process of healing is the one who makes the comment. I so enjoy my home and all that is in it. Nothing in it or about it is evil nor is there anything or any thing about it shame worthy.
As I began writing this post, my eyes widened at the irony that this step stool originally was red, when I was a child. It just so happens, that as an adult, red is my favorite color. Red is in every room of my home and is the color most often seen in my closet. I remember too, that as a child, I thought the wood was actually red, not realizing it was simply the color of the paint applied to the wood.
When I was a child,
I talked like a child, I thought like a child and I reasoned like a child.
As an adult
–with maturity, wisdom and healing–
I put the ways of childhood behind me.