Over the summer a strange wind stirred up in our neighborhood. We heard a few loud bangs and then sudden calm. My husband and I immediately split up to assess the damage. Trees had fallen all around our home. A neighbor’s full-size trampoline had flown around the block, wrapping itself around a tree. Another neighbor’s shed had found it’s way five blocks down the street.

And for us, the wind had whipped a neighbor’s lawn chair through our siding, through our drywall, into our bedroom.

The actual hole takes up about 6 square feet of our bedroom wall. We’ve been living with it for several months now, working out the details with our insurance claim and a contractor. Eventually we set a date for new siding.

So what does our family do when their home is about to be stripped and re-sided? We grab paint, brushes and grubby clothes and we paint on it.

We spent a couple of hours on a chilly November afternoon painting and laughing and spilling and making a mess. The neighbors even stopped by to check it out and paint. Here kids, take a brush, make a mess.

Look at a house that was destined for disaster that got repurposed in artistic expression.

A few days after, some guys came over, stripped our artwork and put up what I call “Naperville Beige”, an acceptable color that will help our resale value. The work was quick, decisive and professional. But it was nothing compared to our afternoon of family art time. I wish it could have stayed that way.

We’ve had a big, long year. This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the opportunity to paint on pain. Stuff happens and we don’t have to know why. We have to paint on it. Trauma happens. Paint on it. Families struggle. Paint on it. Raising children is hard work. Paint on it.┬áPeople disappoint us. Paint on it.

When we painted on our house, it still had a hole. It still caused us a lot of grief. We couldn’t pretend that it wasn’t there. But we took an opportunity to create something out of the ruin. Watching the little hands brush paint all over a scary time in our history was an experience of resurrection. New siding really wasn’t.

Paint on it.