I had no plans to spend the first days of a new year tearing up old floor covering. I admit that I had wondered what was under the linoleum in my bathroom and hallway ever since I bought this house about 16 or 17 years ago. I found out the hard way.
While cleaning, I pulled on the memory foam mat I kept in front of the tub and a piece of the linoleum pulled up with it and ripped out a huge chunk for the surface linoleum. I pulled it up from the bathroom and hallway only to find a layer of the very old, glue down linoleum tiles that are a nightmare to remove.
I would have left them there and scrubbed them until a later date when they could be replaced except for one thing. Whoever put down the linoleum had apparently painted the hallway and bathroom knowing they were going to cover the floor with a new rug. Paint was everywhere. The floor looked like it had leprosy.
Several days later, I am still trying to get that old tile up an inch at a time. My back is sore, my hand is stiff, but I am making progress. The overall space is not that big, but the tile is determined to stay put in some places. For whatever reason, the tile was not only glued, but nailed in some places.
It seems to me that life and daily circumstances usually speak to me of spiritual things as well. I couldn’t help making a comparison of people’s lives and the layers they put down to cover up who they are. Wounded people often try to mask their wounds by putting another, better layer over top of old scars, pain, and blemishes they don’t want everybody else to see.
Just like my floor, I knew there was something hiding underneath, but I had to go through the surface layer of covering to find the painted, messy tile underneath. Then little by little, I have had to chip away at that layer to get to the surprise underneath. Hardwood. Original hardwood. Why anyone wanted to cover it up in the first place, I don’t know. Maybe they thought it was ugly. Maybe they just wanted a change. Maybe they were trying to protect the wood from water damage that sometimes happens in a bathroom.
I like hardwood. If I can keep it, it will have to be sanded, stained, and refinished.
People are like the hardwood. The beautiful person underneath is often far more beautiful than the covering on the outside.
Why are we so afraid to just be who we are? Why are we afraid that other people won’t like the person God created us to be?
Maybe it is because people get so good at hiding their hurts, they don’t realize that other people are all wounded and scarred. We may not all have identical hurts or disappointments, but every single human being experiences loss, disappointment, and hurts in this life if they grow to adulthood.
Perhaps there are painful memories, mistreatment, or hurts so deep that we don’t even want to think of them ever again. We learn to bury those things deep under the layers we show other people. I rejoice in the belief that God knows me inside and out and I need never keep anything hidden from Him. He was right there with me through every step along the way. I have not only survived, but overcome the difficult things that have come my way so far because God’s love never left me.
Like my hardwood floor, God sees what is underneath it all and He sees the beauty in each of us. We just need to trust Him enough to let the layers be stripped away, repairs be made, and the beauty shine through.
Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.