Holding my sleeping, sweet baby girl, I read an article that has stayed with me for many years. I read that piece over thirty-four years ago, actually. The article, in a women’s church magazine, was by an interior decorator, who decided to use her gift of design to help others. Volunteering her time and energy, she assisted seniors when they downsized to make their smaller spaces workable, or she helped folks who had no money to use what they had in creative ways to make their homes more beautiful. She kept her tools (level, nails, hardware, screwdrivers), in a diminutive metal toolbox one of her children had discarded. And it was red.
The little red toolbox became her trademark and she wrote that people loved to see her arrive with it. One senior was overcome with emotion after she created a huge wall display of family photographs. Another octogenarian was moved to tears when his favorite comfy chair was moved into his assisted living apartment with his favorite blanket over the arm.
At the time I thought, “I want to be like that woman.” I also remember looking down at my sleeping baby Lindsay and wondering when I might have the time to act on that thought!
Fast-forward more than three decades later…Lindsay is now a mom herself and an accomplished architect. She recently met a mom who was discouraged after moving into a new small apartment. This mother needed a boost! Lindsay asked me to come and help make this new apartment more functional and appealing. The mom gave Lindsay her house key and knew we were coming by while she was at work, but didn’t know exactly what we were going to do.
After a quick buzz into our local Target for pillows, a wall coat rack and some colorful art, my daughter and I met at the apartment and went to work. We moved every stick of furniture (other that the beds) into new locations. We hung family pictures and our newly purchased statement pieces, even making a huge new piece to hang over the sofa by stapling a curtain panel with a decorative print onto a canvas. We worked in tandem for three hours, transforming the space into an attractive and comfortable home. I tried using a small a level to hang the coat rack but was having some difficulties with it, so Lindsay went to her car to retrieve a longer level. When she walked back into the apartment from her car, I could not believe it.
She was carrying her level in one hand and a small red metal toolbox in the other. I remembered the article and the baby I was holding when I read it. And now here we were, Mom and daughter, doing together what I had hoped for so many years ago. Thank you, Lord. The little red toolbox lives on.