Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Unmasking Tape

The desk I'm currently writing from has this unnecessarily large hutch with lots of little nooks and crannies in which to set things, push things, and hide things.  But what this hutch also has is about six good places to tape notes, something I have done for the seventeen years I've owned this desk.  Taping notes here and there, reminding myself of (seemingly) brilliant ideas for tomorrow, tasks to accomplish, phone calls to make, appointments to remember - these notes are a fond pasttime.  But a pasttime nonetheless.

Because a few years ago, I figured out that the faces on all of these shelves and dividers on this old hutch were just perfect width for little strips of masking tape.  When I found that I needed a more constant reminder of something than the rotating todo list, I stuck one small piece of masking tape right up over my computer monitor and under my VCR.  It reads: Tell A New Story.

Tell a new story.  In my writing and in my life.  I was looking for a way to break out of the rut of feeling like I only had one story - mine - and that I was stuck with what I was and what I had been, that I could never do anything new because this was simply how it was.  So rather than clutter my desk with temporary notes, I put this one permanent right in the middle where I'd see it and stopped altogether taping anything up that might distract me from this simple reminder.

Until, of course, I ran across something else I wanted to remember every day.  A new word of encouragement, something that spoke so powerfully to my heart that I did not want to forget or ignore it.  This time, it was a Scripture and so a new piece of masking tape went up perfectly under my printer.  This one reads: Be Strong and Courageous, and Do the Work.  (1 Chronicles 28:20)

Then again in the past couple of months.  A new inspiration, a new piece of masking tape.  This time, smiling at the name my God has called me - Aidan, which means "little fire" - and amused at realizing this is why I'm stoked so easily.  So I wrote: Little Fire, Be Stoked! and stuck it up on the left side.

So here it is, three constant reminders of ways I have aimed to live my life, with all the convenience of simple masking tape on perfectly-sized shelf widths that I can't help but notice whenever I sit to do something, at the very times it would be simple to fall back into lesser life.  To fall back into habit.  To be content with old stories, lazy ways out, and extinguishing flames.

The other night, I got to thinking about this, looking at these little pieces of tape that are nothing and yet are something powerful because they encourage and inspire and remind me that life doesn't have to be the way it was, that I don't have to be what I was, that I can be more.  Life can be more.  And to honor my God, this should be more.  (Not because He requires it for me, but because He invites me and I therefore require it of myself.)

But the irony was not lost on me when I stopped to think not about these words but about this process - of taping not tasks but thoughts, of rolling out one piece after another of masking tape that I suppose more rightly ought to be known as unmasking tape - because this is my invitation every day to show my face and live authentic to the story He's telling in me.

And there's plenty more space on this hutch for His work to continue.

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