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Second Coat


Written by: Br. Brian Poulin


February 4, 2023 – Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time


Readers who actually know me are likely aware that I spend a lot of time on the road these days, zipping around from one place to another. Around the recent turn of the new year, I had an extended time actually staying put at home for a bit—just about three whole weeks! I took advantage of the occasion by painting my room, something that had been on my mind to accomplish for about a year and a half.


My limited experience with interior prep work, along with numerous worthwhile interruptions, ensured that the project took longer than I had expected, which in hindsight I actually should have expected. By the time I had to depart for my next trip, I was finished with everything but touch ups and clean up. The walls basically looked good though, with a few blemishes here and there that I intended to address later.


Those blemishes remain for the time being, and while I still aim to fix a couple of them—my touch up paint and brushes stay close at hand—others have been hidden by the furniture that has been moved back in place or they simply don’t seem that offensive anymore. My occasional experience painting over the years has helped me to continue moving beyond whatever perfectionist tendencies I may have, as I have learned to sometimes distinguish whether a job that looks good from 15 feet away is sufficient or whether it truly needs to withstand minute examination. And still, part of me finds virtue in attending to the hidden surfaces that only I, and perhaps a future painter, will ever know were “done right.”


It's amazing how many of our mistakes wither in significance given a moment’s reflection or the passage of time. A common refrain among teachers is that our students generally won’t remember too much of the content we try to impart upon them, but that they will always remember how we treated them, how we made them feel. So what tasks, decisions, and details are truly important to agonize over after all?


I still obsess over more details than I probably should. However, I try to maintain my equanimity by remembering which ones will truly matter to others and which only affect my own personal satisfaction. Often enough, even if the details need to be right eventually, there is room for mishaps or uneven results in the initial stages. There is much grace in the second coat of paint.


So I wonder sometimes how much of my life I will spend foolishly trying to conform reality to my plans when Plan ‘B’ so often stands for ‘better’, as many friends of Bro. Dan o’Riordan have learned one way or another.


St. Marcellin Champagnat truly saw the Marist Project as Mary’s work, and would say that after we do all we can, it is simply too bad for her if she lets her good work crumble. May that mix of determination and the ability to let go guide my own attitudes as I carry out the various endeavors entrusted to me.



The ‘ear candy’ on offer this time around is a song by the Christian rapper Lecrae about things eventually working out for the good. He’s speaking more about overcoming hardship than not getting things perfect the first time around, but many of his words apply to this month’s theme regardless. The ‘brain food’ includes both a portion of an interview with Martin Sheen as well as some observations regarding one of his recent films, both relating to the importance of renewal and second chances.


Ear Candy: “8:28” by Lecrae

Brain Food: “Why Martin Sheen Returned to Catholicism” by Ryan J. Pemberton


Come back on the first Saturday of next month for a new post!


Previous Posts:


Jan 7 – Pick It Up. Carry It.


Dec 3 – Waiting for Us

Nov 12 – Millstones

Oct 1 – House of Healing

Sep 3 – Voice 

Aug 6 – Journey

Jul 2 – If the Lord Does Not Build the Playhouse

Jun 4 – The Sacrament of Fun

May 7 – How They Love

Apr 2 – Be Like Mary

Mar 5 – Unbound

Feb 5 – Glitch 

Jan 8 – Making It Real


Dec 4 – Reason for Hope

Nov 6 – Unspeakable Love

Oct 2 – God of the Always

Sep 4 – Time Unchained

Aug 7 – Pray for Us

Jul 3 – Real Presence

Jun 5 – Bag of Squirrels

May 1 – Brothers 

Apr 3 – Plan B

Mar 6 – Times 40

Feb 6 – Testimony 

Jan 2 – Unconditional 


Dec 5 – Gestation

Nov 7 – Where Hope Lives

Oct 3 – Enough 

Sep 5 – Assembly Required

Aug 1 – Stumped 

July 4 – Bitter and Sweet

June 6 – Fire

May 30 – Brother’s Keeper

May 23 – Remote

May 16 – Getting By

Apr. 25 – Thank God It’s Saturday

Apr. 18 – Joseph’s Fiat

Apr. 11 – Bells & Sirens

Apr. 4 – Adaptation

Mar. 28 – Guest Column

Mar. 21 – Moving Forward

Mar. 14 – Reality Check

Mar. 7 – Soar 

Feb. 29 – Hiking Lessons

Feb. 22 – Love in the Desert

Feb. 15 – Beautiful Life

Feb. 8 – Bad Science

Feb. 1 – All Shall Be Well

Jan. 25 – Let Somebody Love You

Jan. 18 – Extraordinary Time

Jan. 11 – L’Chaim!

Jan. 4 – Decisive


Dec. 28 – Can’t Alone

Dec. 21 – Unexpected Gifts 

Dec. 14 – No Room

Dec. 7 – End of the World

Nov. 30 – Elective Unpleasantness

Nov. 23 – Always Greater

Nov. 16 – Coloring Book

Nov. 9 – Justice and Mercy

Nov. 2 – Together in Loneliness

Oct. 26 – Gently

Oct. 19 – Flow

Oct. 12 – In This Place

Oct. 5 – Why Understanding

Sep. 28 – Stone to Flesh

Sep. 21 – Let God

Sep. 14 – Passion

Sep. 7 – Hermanos

Aug. 31 – 525,600

Aug. 24 – Pathway

Aug. 17 – Crazy Together

Aug. 10 – To Bridge

Aug. 3 – Stripes

July 27 – Ghost Town

July 20 – Adrift

July 13 – Borders without Borders

July 6 – Little Bit at a Time

June 29 – Holy Dissent

June 22 – Old Kentucky Home

June 15 – Steamer Trunk

June 8 – Squad

June 1 – Legacy

May 25 – Live like You’re Loved

May 18 – Purity of Heart

May 11 – Builders and Creator

May 4 – Value Proposition

Apr. 27 – Vital Signs

Apr. 20 – Let It Be Real

Apr. 13 – Meet Self

Apr. 6 – Let Go of the Best

Mar. 30 – Thirst

Mar. 23 – Back Home

Mar. 16 – Say Goodbye

Mar. 9 – Garden and Desert

Mar. 2 – In Transit

Feb. 23 – Wealth

Feb. 16 – In Place

Feb. 9 – Each and All

Feb. 2 – Not Disneyland

Jan. 26 – Pilgrim People

Jan. 19 – Waking Dream

Jan. 12 – Called and Sent

Jan. 5 – Divine Encounter


Dec. 29 -- Resolution

Dec. 22 – Room for Love?

Dec. 15 – Humbug!

Dec. 8 – Let It Begin with Me

Dec. 1 – Driven by Love

Nov. 24 – What Manner of King

Nov. 17 – Stranger

Nov. 10 – I Need Help to Be Holy

Nov. 3 – Fully Alive

Oct. 27 – Behind the Curtain

Oct. 20 – Questions. Answers?

Oct. 13 – Stumble & Fall

Oct. 6 – Young World

Sep. 29 – Defend Us in Battle

Sep. 22 – The Taste of Water

Sep. 15 – God’s Plan

Sep. 8 – Life Finds a Way