Sometimes, certain furniture pieces carry a special meaning. Each furniture piece I’ve created resides in my heart but this one is an example of a purpose beyond just a pretty piece adorning someone’s home. When I feel down I go back and look at my work in order to remind myself of the broader scope besides me in my workshop, painting something because I need the release of my emotions as therapy.
This one will always be particularly special to me. My neighbors inevitably discover that I paint furniture. It’s hard not to see that when you have people coming to pick up furniture in trucks and my husband hauling another find into the house. We lived for some time in an apartment and across from us was a sweet, elderly lady in a wheelchair who would pass by each day with her cantankerous little dogs on leashes. A smile would beam on her face whenever she saw us with my 2 year old daughter and infant son in his carrier.
One day she asked me if she could buy a vanity from me. She said she wanted something small enough that she could use in her wheelchair to see the mirror and get dressed without struggling to stand up at her bathroom vanity in order to do so. I promised her I would search for one.
When I came across this vanity, I knew it was meant for her. The leg was broken and it had clearly been through a lot of use. It had lived a long life and was ready for another history. I contacted the owner and asked if I could get it for my neighbor. She gave it to me for free and I did what I always do, repaired the leg, closed the cracks, and patched the veneer. Made it whole again. What came to mind as far as design was something floral. Outside of her door were flowers and plants. She would come out everyday with her gallon jug of water to water them. I could tell it gave her a sense of purpose. I wanted to give her something delicate and soothing. This is why I chose the rose color and the lavender flowers. I liked how the mirror could be easily tilted down to her height. It was compact but there was enough storage to hold small essentials. It was perfect.
On the day we carried it into her home, I was filled with joy. She was beside herself with happiness and that was more meaningful to me than all the money in the world. She told me she wanted to pay for it but of course, I wouldn’t let her. I needed to feel the joy in my heart more than she knew. It was her who was giving me the gift, not the other way around. The giver is not always the only one receiving the gift,
We have since moved but I often wonder if she is still walking her little terrors and watering her flowers. I wonder if she remembers me and if the vanity reminds her that she is important. That others see her. She is not invisible. Sometimes we forget our senior citizens and the richness of the lives they have lived, the lessons they have to teach us if we listen. A piece of furniture can hold love in its essence. Little acts can be bigger than major successes. When the world closes in on me, I look back at this piece and others to remind myself that my purpose can be outside of my insular world as someone creating pretty things. I’m just a droplet in the mystery of the ocean beyond the comprehension of my human mind. We are all part of a greater whole, one that would be more empty without each of us. If only we could all remember that we are all in this together, in this life together for however long we are meant to be in it. May your lives be blessed and hearts full. May your eyes see far and deep. May your hands be loving and gentle. May your lips smile and kiss.