What happens when we turn on the lights?

We finally did it! We made the leap and had our kitchen and master bath remodeled.

So, this may not seem like such a big deal to you, but for me, it was more than a year overdue and could quite possibly help me stop hating our house and move past the resentment I have felt toward the last owners.

Yes, there are always surprises when you move into a house, but the sloppy cosmetic touches speak volumes of their character. But that is a story for another time.

Today, I will discuss what happened when we put new lighting in the kitchen.

You see, the house, for all its windows, had truly inadequate and dim lighting. One small, focused fixture over a small island, a light over the sink and a decapitating hanging lamp over the dining table left the eat-in kitchen rather dark after the sun goes down.

Oh, you could call it mood lighting, I suppose. But poor lighting never does anything good for my mood.

Poor lighting strains the eyes, and frankly, makes me cranky for the frustration of not being able to see what I needed too.

So, one of the things I insisted on in the remodel was several can lights in the ceiling.

And wow! What a difference it made! All of sudden, my kitchen was illuminated! I could see everything I needed too.

No more squinting to read the recipe book, or having to move so my shadow wouldn’t impede my vegetable prep, or wearing a headlamp so I could tell whether that last little bit of baked on sauce came off the hand-washed pan.

The comparative flood of light was absolutely breathtaking!

And then I saw it.

The paint on the cabinets and walls was all wrong. We had installed this marvelous neutral conglomerate stone counter top (Fantasy Brown), and our existing beige cabinets did not match. Not even close. In fact, the difference was rather unsettling (and this is coming from someone with no design affinity).

And I saw more.

I could see what a truly terrible job the last owners did with touch up paint! I had noticed touch ups in a few places before. But with the glorious light now flooding my kitchen, I saw that it was everywhere!

And not only that, the touch up paint did not match the original cabinet paint color! It was a shade off!

You natural designer and fashion types are probably thinking, “Oh, silly. The color of the lights you are using is different and is making everything show.”

Nope. Same warm light color.

But the addition of more light showed all the blemishes, shortcuts, and lack of care for the home.

I get it. As a seller, you want out quickly, and just want to make it look good enough to sell to someone else. So, you do quick, bare minimum efforts to get by. (Mind you, I had just done some fix ups and sold a house, and did some upgrade painting, but I made sure it was done well. Self-respect here, people.)

After that last year of finding all of these “surprises,” I was not at all surprised to see the shoddy work. It was disappointingly consistent with the other problems I have discovered.

I couldn’t help but notice how this situation is so much like each of us.

When more light and truth enter our lives, we may start to notice unsettling imperfections in ourselves when we look in the proverbial mirror. Oh, a pimple here, rosacea there, and (ugh) a wart. And there is no hiding it anymore.

The masterful Maya Angelou is credited with saying:

“Do the best you can until you know better. And when you know better, do better.”

Light in the physical world helps us see things more clearly, more accurately. So does Heavenly Light when it comes to our souls and the “fleshy tables of our hearts.”

I know I didn’t like what I saw in my kitchen when the abundant lighting was first turned on. But this experience has me asking a lot of questions about the “kitchen” of my soul.

How bright is my light? How much light am I allowing in every day? What fixtures or shades are impeding the light? How are my spiritual batteries doing?

I see some blemishes and spots that need to be touched up. There are a lot. More than I want to admit. And some areas probably need a whole remodel.

Just like with painting my cabinets, it is going to take work. And a lot of it to sand away my imperfections, priming with humility to make the good stick, and multiple layers of fresh, clean paint to bring out the truest color. All done with patience and the right tools, so I don’t end up with another shoddy paint job full of disappointment.

For now, I suppose I will grab that brush and get going on the next layer of on those cabinet doors.