How Painting My House Makes Me a Better Human

How does painting the house make me a better human?

During the three weeks that we are home in October we need to paint the outside of the house. The weather has been ideal for painting; dry, not too windy, not too warm.

We also have music to make, songs to finish. And you can guess what I would rather be doing. But, I am an adult. We start the painting.

Aidan does the big stuff. Spraying the broad sides of the house from a thirty foot ladder. I do the trim. I actually prefer that and I have a really steady hand. My plan is to coalesce song ideas while I paint, using the work as a sort of meditational backdrop.

Breathe, brush, edge.
Words are not coming.
Breathe, brush, edge.
Wasp between my eyes and the brush!
Breathe, brush, edge.
Previous night’s Presidential debate in my head.
Breathe, brush, edge.

At some point I am in the zone there is nothing but paint in a thin perfect line around the door, around the window. Minutes and hours rolls by until I am out of trim and fortunately not out of paint.

There were no lyrics, not even a couplet. No convergence of ideas, no clarity. But the house is painted. (the house is painted!) I take a shower and sit down to work. Not on a song, but a talk I’ll be giving about finding purpose in your passion. It’s something I’ve done before, but I like to change things, keep it fresh. I have been speaking lately about businessy things and it is nice to change gears.

I begin to realize  I’ve had a small, slow simmer of anger just below the surface. It’s kept itself hidden while I was distracted by the beauty of nature and the joy of music. But it’s been there. And now it’s gone.

Today, tomorrow and November 9th. I have no use for anger. I will be needed. I will have a friend who is too tired to do laundry after a chemo treatment. That’s on me, not any government agency. There will be an acquaintance who is alone for a holiday and I need to invite them over for dinner. Me, not some elected official.
I will dance at the weddings of amazing couples and witness the pride of parents whose child has just graduated. Joy will not be legislated. And when someone needs help pushing their car out after a snow storm, that is not on me. Call Aidan.

I will meet folks who have had a hard week of work and need to be taken to a different place in their minds. I need to play my heart and soul out to them. I need to. I need to for them, and for me. So Aidan and I are working on two projects that we believe will let us use music as a tool for making a little corner of the world just a little better.

If the outcome of an election goes your way, or not, I promise you are needed out here in the world. Most of the work of making this place good is on us. Can we carry that weight? My shoulders feel pretty strong. I think it’s from all the painting.

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