Renovation and Restoration

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Over the last five months, our house has been a construction zone. We lived through the demo and reconstruction or several major areas and experienced unforeseen circumstances, delays, miscommunications, reassessments, errors, and do-overs.  But we’ve also seen the work of skilled craftsmen who care about quality and pleasing the customer. Now, we are enjoying the newly renovated areas of our home and can look back and see that all the dust and inconvenience were worth it.

Our lives are a lot like a renovation project. We often encounter circumstances we didn’t expect and can’t control. Our plans and schedules  run askew through no fault of our own. We say something that we feel is clear and forthright, yet the hearer’s interpretation is totally different from our intent. The result is confusion, blaming, or hurt feelings. We make mistakes and try again. And if we’re honest and insightful, we admit our own shortcomings, forgive others theirs, and figure out ways to remain slow to speak and long on listening.

Prior to the renovation, we did a lot of cleaning out, determining what to save, throw out, and donate. Once demolition began, we uncovered rotten wood, water damage, and some electrical problems, but we also learned our house was better built than we originally thought.

In the process of self-assessment, we often discover things about ourselves we wish we could keep hidden, but in doing the hard work of honest appraisal, we pave the way for forward motion. Often, the reason we can’t move beyond a circumstance or a hurt is because we can’t stop replaying the situation and find it difficult to forgive others and ourselves.

Many years ago, my father, a builder, rescued a mantel from his boyhood home just before the house was torn down. It was stored in his warehouse for years. During the renovation of my childhood home, we brought the mantel out of storage, and after stripping, sanding, priming, and painting, installed the restored mantel as an architectural feature in the house. Although it is shows dimples and wear, the mantel’s history outshines it’s imperfections and makes the restored version that much more precious. Like this mantel, we can move on to the next phase of life with determination and a vision for renovation and restoration.

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