White on white. With the grain.

With the grain. White on white. Brush, back and forth, watching for drips. Repeat. If I could just paint over, stop, don’t go there. Just paint, with the grain, white on white. In this moment, that is all I need to do. Simple, no thought is necessary, no problem solving, only gentle movements, attention to this one task. I remind myself it is a relief to let my body act and let my mind rest.

My mind wanders as I spread out the glob of paint ready to drip and ruin the appearance of the door. Thoughts of a current revolution, holidays, gardens, forgiveness, rise from the grain competing for my attention. I hear the voices of volunteers cutting trim for windows and installing cabinets. The voices are comforting, bringing joy to the construction of my future neighbor’s house.

White on white, one brush stroke at a time. I think about the smiles on the mug shots of people arrested due to an Occupy Wall Street protest. The movement to force change by gathering and publicly stating discontent with the disparity in this country continues to grow. I want to know the magic secret that will connect everyone with dignity. I want to find the grain that prohibits hearts from choosing selfish desires over the sacredness of human dignity. My heart is still burning from the comment during lunch. This is the fourth time I have heard the volunteers and builders express discontent with the interior paint. “I hear the homeowner said the color was ok. I guess they’re just so grateful to get a house they don’t mind the color”.

One stroke at a time, with the grain. Of the seven houses on this street, five are single women, four work with youth and education, one is a social worker. There are days I’m not sure if we work against or with the grain. For some, the pattern that exists is demeaning and oppressive. There is an effort to mix the color of the paint for the interior of my home. I don’t know if it will be acceptable for me. I do know I will have the ability to change what I don’t like.

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