Recently my hubby painted our kitchen sage green — just the focal wall, but with the open floor layout, the kitchen wall is visible from the living room and hallway.
Color gleaming from that one wall made the entire house seem cozier. Inspired to spread the warmth to other rooms, I dipped into my samples and smattered red and tan onto the white walls. But as I viewed the splotches from various angles, I realized that the colors that looked amazing weren’t necessarily compatible with the sage in the kitchen.
I painted patches of blues and greens until the colors on my interior walls all seemed to run together like melted crayons in a metal heat register. So, I decided to postpone my choice until morning. In the morning light, the red appeared to be more orange than it had before, and the blue looked more purple. I finally slapped some pale yellow on a wall, and my husband agreed that it was the only color that was appealing from every angle.
When we are presented with choices that involve our relationships with others, the options can overlap so much that they appear like a conglomerate of colors, creating a pallet that makes it difficult for us to distinguish between the ones that complement each other and the ones that clash. If we are confused about which decision is best for us, often changing our vantage point, or viewing the situation from another person’s perspective, will permit us to see an entirely different shade.
Painting is about as messy as decision-making. Covering up all the test patches wasn’t as easy as I’d presumed. I had the off-white base color that was adorning all the walls, but when I rolled it on, I realized it was a dramatically different shade than the rest of the white walls. I had the same brand of paint and the same formula that had been used to paint previously, yet it was noticeably a much whiter white.
It was whiter no matter from which angle I looked and was discernable even in dim light. This was definitely the wrong shade.
All decisions aren’t so self-evident, but if we are unsure how to interpret what looks like someone melted all our crayons and created an impressionistic piece of art-work, we must step out of our well-worn stance and look at the piece from the floor, from the ceiling — look at it with the lights on, with the lights off. We must keep observing the situation until we see what we hadn’t before.
Something has shifted. The clues are there, we just have to find them like the hidden objects in a picture puzzle. Life is our picture puzzle. If we are to find the solution, we must check out the view from a variety of angles, find the one that provides a perspective we hadn’t previously considered.
Relationship challenges are like hues — the subtlest shift along the color wheel can yield the most amazing revelations.
We often forget that the shade we’ve chosen — the choice we’ve made — will look different in the bright noon sun than it does in the twilight. Our off-white may appear bright white as we stand, hand-on-hips, shaking our heads and wondering who switched the formula in our can of paint when all we had to do was change our perception.
Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County and an author. Her column appears each Tuesday.