The great cover up of 2011

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By Nancy Kennedy

In the continuing saga of my ongoing battle over household décor with my husband, this time it’s the back sliding glass door.
But before I get to that, let me back up to say that in the first 30 or so years of our marriage my husband rarely expressed an opinion about how to decorate the house except for one hard and fast rule: I could choose any color to paint the walls as long as it was antique or Navaho white.
Other than that I had free reign — and I love to reign.
Then he retired and all of a sudden became Mr. HGTV Design Star DIY Guy. With opinions. Lots of opinions. All of them opposite from mine.
My rule, which I made up myself and am quite pleased with, is this: Whomever it’s more important to gets to choose.
For 30 or so years it’s been more important to me, so I got to do all the choosing.
But now I have to fight and claw and present valid, provable reasons for what I want to do in the house. It’s like I’m a lawyer preparing for court and frankly it’s exhausting and I don’t have much fight left in me.
That’s where the back sliding glass door comes in.
The door leads out onto a screened porch and faces a grassy median. Beyond that are the backs of the villas on the next street over from us.
When we first moved in eight or so years ago I didn’t put up drapes or blinds or anything covering the big glass door because I like the feeling of bare openness and hate feeling closed in or cluttered.
However, anybody can see in from the outside, especially at night if we have lights on. That’s always been a concern, but not enough to do anything about it. I always said if the neighbors don’t want to see me they all have drapes or blinds they can close.
Last month Mr. HGTV decided the big glass door is too bare and decreed that it needs something.
Let the bloodletting — I mean negotiations — begin.
After several rounds we compromised on a screen that rolls up into a valance so during the day the window can look as bare naked as I like it and at night, with the screen rolled down, the neighbors and passersby can’t see in.
This whole ordeal got me thinking about why we need window coverings in the first place. What is it about our humanity that compels us to hide ourselves behind walls and drapes and roll up shades?
Jesus said that people (that would be you and me) love darkness instead of light because their (our) deeds are evil and we’re afraid we’ll be exposed (John 3:19).
Ever since Adam and Eve sinned and felt the need to cover up their nakedness we’ve been hiding behind clothes and window coverings ever since.
We don’t want people to see what we’re doing. We don’t want them to know our business. We don’t want them to judge us, even if we’re just sitting on the couch eating ice cream, watching “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” — especially if we’re watching “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
In a 2008 Christianity Today article, “Hope for Fools,” the author posed the question: What would it be like to be “unfallen?” He wrote, “How can we, the fallen and fearful, even guess what it would be like to have the easy freedom of sinlessness, to go to one’s bed at night anxious for nothing, never suspecting peril in any rustling of the leaves or of the mind?”
We can’t, and as long as there are people who love the darkness, who would peek through our windows with intent to harm us, and as long as we continue to do things that bring us shame, we will continue to cover our windows.
Those who have run to Jesus can be assured that he has taken away their guilt and shame. “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light,” Jesus said, “so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done by God” (John 3:21).
Christ, having taken away our shame, enables us to live exposed, forgiven and redeemed lives. Theoretically, we don’t need to cover ourselves.
That said, I must admit that we really do need something on the back glass door — for the neighbors’ sake.
Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria - I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing,” and her latest book, “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at (352) 564-2927, Monday through Thursday, or via email at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.