by Hannah the Zebra
The psychologists tell us what we already instinctively know: that joy is healing. For many of us, one way to find joy is through beauty. As immune deficient people, we have more than the usual need to have beauty in our lives.
My husband and I have lived in this small, beautiful, 100 year old craftsman for almost eight years. And for many of those years we have wanted two Persian rugs to put at each end of the living room on the hardwood floors. But my husband and I have had an on-going discussion. I was quite willing to settle for mass produced rugs. But every time I brought a sample home, his comment was, “I could probably learn to live with it.” Even at mass produced prices, I didn’t want to spend money on something he would just put up with. Especially since he is by far the more visual of the two of us.
Last fall my friend Barbara and I had driven into Pasadena for my big outing of the week and had stumbled on a small Persian rug store. It specializes in liquidations, so the prices were exceedingly reasonable. I had returned with my husband and we had spent about half an hour in the store when he said, “I need to leave now. These are too beautiful, and while the prices are reasonable, it is still more than we should spend at the moment.” He was right. We left.
The problem is that both of us understand Persian rugs. We know how they are made, what to look for to determine the quality, and even the traditional way to clean them. (Take them down to a river, submerge them, and then beat them with a stick. We will obviously need to find a 21st century equivalent since we have neither a river nor big enough sticks.)
We also both like tribal designs, which are, wouldn’t you know it, the most complicated to weave and therefore more expensive. But the half hour in the store with him had convinced me. After all, we had waited over 30 years before we had the opportunity to buy this small craftsman bungalow. We already felt as though we lived in a work of art. It was worth waiting awhile longer in order to be able to buy two of these rugs that we both loved.
So for several months I became even stricter with the budget and saved every spare dollar I could, adding the savings to our home improvement/repair fund. When we returned to the store, the owner was delighted to see us, and he was willing to give us a good price; we were buying two rugs, and were paying in cash. The truly expensive rugs were out of the question, but we were able to narrow our choices down to four moderately priced rugs, and since we lived in the area, he brought all four out to the house and laid them down one at a time so that we could decide which ones worked the best. And it became almost immediately obvious. There were two that were so completely perfect that we knew that we had been right to wait and save.
That was two months ago. Each morning I go out to the living room and the rugs’ beauty still make me catch my breath. I sit down in chairs during the day and just drink the rugs in. I feel like we have two gorgeous pieces of art on our floor that I can look at any time I want to. They both define the space and make it feel more inviting, more welcoming. More healing.