The Plastic Couch TheoryPosted: July 29, 2015
A few years ago, I found myself at church on a Sunday morning. I remember this because I have been playing ball Sunday mornings for a couple of years now and my church experiences have recently been online. Impact Church in Atlanta, which is probably my favorite place of worship I’ve been to out here, is a breath of fresh air. The lead pastor Olu Brown always has a powerful message that he delivers in a way that isn’t too preachy. He infuses some comedy, spirituality and a whole heap of passion in his sermons. The particular Sunday I am writing about, I recall him mentioning and bringing a plastic covered couch on stage.
We’ve all seen the couches with the plastic covers on them. Most of us had them in our households or our grandparents’ households growing up. I never thought much of them. I just figured that if you had a nice couch and you had kids or pets, it made sense to cover it up.
I’m not sure who started this trend or if furniture stores recommended keeping the plastic on for a few years, but Olu pointed out an interesting observation in relation to his sermon. He correlated the couch to our blessings. He stated that by covering up this possibly expensive piece of furniture, it was like concealing its beauty for the act or preservation. It wasn’t a cloth cover; it was a transparent shield that allowed visibility of the patterns and design, without actual contact with the material. It meant that this sole couch or chair, or whatever it was, was going to have to last for some time. It may have to last forever.
Well that’s what the plastic signified. The cover meant that there was a lack of faith that if this couch got stained, ripped or turned blue from too many pairs of denim jeans on it, The Creator would not bless you with another one. It was a symbol that this blessing was one that you had to hold on to, because there was no clue leading to when there would be another gift. It was the customer’s message to the universe that they gratefully accept all offerings and will protect them from unforeseen disaster and human error.
But what about the modest individuals that say, “Yes Lord I want more blessings but I would rather have food in my fridge, clothes on my back and health for my family than another couch?” Olu’s answer to that was, have it all. Why should you have to choose? And it was in that moment that I thought about my house growing up.
Yes we had plastic on some items but I don’t think my mother was concerned with keeping these decorations for eternity. Nor was she pinching pennies. This was just what it was. We had a cat that clawed chairs, we had visitors that wore jeans and some of our furniture needed protection. But how much of that plasticity got embedded in my way of thinking? Maybe it taught me that it’s ok to have something “nice,” but in order to keep it fresh you have to cover it. Is that similar to the guys who keep the stickers on their hats after they purchase them?
Does that make the hat look newer? Why is newer better? Didn’t I keep my stickers on too? I need to find some old pictures. Maybe I’m going off topic a little, but there is a distinct difference between keeping my Jordans in their original box in my closet, and covering my couch with plastic that sits in my living room.
I can still remember when the couch in my mother’s living room became free. It was like we got a whole new décor in the house. I was afraid to eat near it or sleep on it, or even look at it too long. Yes it taught me how to appreciate possessions while not becoming a slave to them, but I also learned from Olu’s sermon.
While you are thankful for your current employment position, grateful for your residence, and possibly happy with your relationship, do not cover it with plastic suspending its potential. Your blessings have no limits. There may be a better position, a grander home and a higher level of love and commitment out there that is waiting for you. So be humble, value what you have, and continue to move forward just like you did to get where you are now. We tend to face new obstacles and look to the sky thinking, how will I get through this?
For myself, I keep musical journals that often remind me that I was facing similar hurdles years before and had no clue how I would make it over them. Some I avoided, others I leaped over, but the common thread is that a way was made. Take the plastic off…
“Dreams may fade, as you’re wanting and wishing,
You go to work every day, it starts distorting your vision,
And people tell you that your plan won’t grow to fruition,
But you don’t need a plan B, there’s no aborting your mission,
You gotta take any energy, that is meant to get you,
Out your zone, and just hone it into something beneficial,
Yea we all hold grudges, and have some resentful issues,
But no matter where you move, God is a tenant with you…”