The dream felt eerily real. We were in the Swiss Alps at a ministry lodge. (It’s what I imagined L’Abri to be). An older couple ran the place and welcomed us with half-open arms. They seemed amiable, but also legalistic, so I felt immediately on my guard.
“What do you need us to do?” we asked. “We came here to help.”
“Painting,” the wife said.
I nodded. I knew painting.
She said the main room of the lodge needed painting. Knowing her disposition, I opted for a very boring white. I hate white walls. Hate them! I’m all for a melange of colors. As I painted the walls a frosty white, I hoped she’d like them.
When I finished (I was speedy, it took just a few dream hours…and by the way, where did my husband go? He hates painting. I think he purposely slipped out of my dream), I stood back, looking at the stark walls. When the wife returned, she smiled, but not heartily. “It’s nice,” she said.
I left to change into better clothes. The couple was hosting a large ministry event that evening and we were to be guests.
Imagine my shock upon entering the room to find it painted a deep grey on a contrasting wall. It looked exactly how I would’ve painted it had I not been restrained by what I thought was the proprietor’s legalism.
When I saw her, she said, “I am sorry. I don’t like white. I repainted it myself. Do you like it?”
I woke up then, paint swirling around my head.
And then I thought about writing. I wonder how much I paint vanilla prose, worried at what those out there might think. I wonder how a colorless world needs our bright splashes of passion.
EXHORTATION: Paint whatever color brings you joy. Write whatever prose that brings you life. You’ll be surprised when even those you perceive as legalists embrace what you write. Let go of the worries of expectations by a fickle public. In the quiet of your office, write passionate words as an offering to the One who created all words.