Restoring the Lamps, Part One

Lamp Shades as Pompoms. A Reenactment.

I Couldn’t Renew Them Alone

“How about these?” I asked my husband, as we examined the selection of lampshades at our local Lowe’s. “Those look good,” Rich responded. So I selected a pair, spinning them slowly to make sure they were free of dents or stains.

Satisfied, we trooped down the aisle towards hardware. I carried a lampshade in each hand. Then I balanced one by its finial on the ball of each index finger, palms-up. These were large objects, and I could carry one on a fingertip.

I felt strong, balancing those lampshades on my fingertips.

I had a project in mind. My dad had given me these lamps, you see. They’d belonged to my grandparents. Mom had saved them for years, packed away in a moving carton in their garage. We’d toted them home from Dad’s house at least a year earlier, and they’d sat in their carton in our garage since then. But now I was on vacation. A week stretched before me with few obligations and not-too-many plans. Fixed up, the lamps would be perfect in our bedroom.

They just needed a little attention to renew them.

I’m not sure where the burst of exuberance came from. Maybe the prospect of a week of rest provoked it. Maybe it was excitement over tackling, finally, the lamps.

But it came. Did you know that lampshades make a decent substitute for a pair of cheerleader’s pompoms?

I didn’t either, until I found myself grasping each one, extending one straight up and the other out to my left.

“Gimme an L!” I yelled, right there in the big wide center aisle at Lowe’s. 

My husband turned to look at me. I smiled. I’m not sure who else might have turned to look. I didn’t care. I was having fun.

I was playing.

I enjoyed it so much that I demonstrated this off-label use of lampshades to the young man who handled our transaction. He smiled, too.

All this playing and smiling made me happy. I felt relaxed, contented.

So I was really surprised when, as we drove home, tears came. 

These lamps are dear to me. They’re family antiques. I remember them from a household that was a constant in my life as a child, a girl. My family moved several times, but Grandma and ‘Pa’s house always stayed the same.

I didn’t find much of that earlier in adulthood, as I stumbled from one false start to the next.

It took a long, long time for me to locate my forever home.

I needed to resurrect these lamps. I wanted to do right by them, returning them to a place in the household where they’d be valued for their light and beauty. Now we had the new lampshades, replacement cords and sockets, and brand new shiny harps.

I wanted to make them new. But I needed help.

Rich would show me how to replace the lamp’s insides. He’s a skilled handyman and a patient teacher. The gold leaf on the lamp bases needs touching up, too. That part will be up to me. And I’m not the crafty type. I’m hopeful that I can do right by the lamps.

In any event, when I’m done, they’ll have their forever home.

Or they’ll be ruined.

I’m crying because I love these lamps. Or rather I love the memories they rekindle in me. And we’re at a crossroads. Either my skilled husband and not-too-crafty me restore them, or they’re ready for the dump. I know the rewiring is doable, so really, their fates lie in my not-so-steady hands.

I’m excited at the prospect of renewing them. And I’m afraid I’ll do it wrong, destroy them.

Worn Gold Leaf.

I’m so grateful that my own renewal, securing my forever home, didn’t depend on me. It doesn’t depend on my husband’s skill or the knowledge of the clerk in the craft store who guided me to choose the right gold leaf paint.

My fate lies in the steadiest Hand of all. He never errs. No matter how much touchup it takes to renew me, He won’t tire of the task. Whatever light I give, it comes from Him.

He’s saved a spot for me.

And I’ll be welcomed there, even if I play pompom with lampshades in the home improvement store.

10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
1 Peter 5:10 (NASB)

I’m linking with Laura Boggess today for Playdates with God. Won’t you come and play?