Life Under Construction: Lessons Learned in Gratefulness and Letting Go

I’ve been absent for some time because….construction. What started as tearing down a small wall and updating our kitchen turned into a much bigger (and longer) project. That never happens with construction projects, right?! Living out of a suitcase at my parent’s house the past two months – with two littles and a commute that has made me want to pull my hair out more than once – has been hard. Hard on my marriage, hard on my kids, hard on my sanity. And we’re still not done.

My husband and I looked at each other many times over the past 8 weeks and asked ourselves what in the world we got ourselves into. I heard the construction stories – the ones that warned me that construction is extremely stressful on a marriage. In fact, when a good friend of ours who is a general contractor told me that he’s had to recommend counselors to couples during construction projects, I laughed. That’s funny, I thought. I heard the stories that warn you that opening walls is like opening a can of worms. You never know what you’re going to find. Turns out, they’re all true.

We’ve encountered our fair share of obstacles during this project. But in the face of near-daily shootings, global immigration crises, devastating hurricanes and earthquakes – not to mention the physical and mental pain that so many face daily – I’m reminded that these are first-world problems.

My privilege is not lost on me. tweet

I give thanks that we are in this position. I give thanks that we have a home, let alone the means to remodel it. Thanks that we have family who opened their doors to us for 8 weeks; that we have the ability to eat out when we don’t have a kitchen to cook in. It is not lost on me that while I stress out over cabinet knobs and paint colors, there are people suffering in so many parts of the world, including in my own back yard.

Perspectives on Privilege

My reality is put powerfully into perspective when I read the news. When I see the woman shaving her legs outside of Home Depot, living out of the duffle bag that sits next to her.  Or when I read about the 10 year old in Malawi who’s gone blind due to cataracts – an ailment that would have been caught early and fixed easily in the part of the world that I live in. It’s moments like these when I start to feel the tug and hear the whisper asking me what I plan to do with it, my privilege. How will I use it for the good of others? The dust, the paint samples, the torn up walls – these are not dilemmas or problems. These are opportunities to use what I’ve been given for a cause much greater than myself.

Let me be clear: I love my new kitchen. I really do. I’ve flipped through the magazines, pinned the pins, and watched my fair share of Fixer Upper, dreaming of the kitchen that I now have. I am oh-so grateful for the space that I come home to, even in it’s partially finished state. I’ve always loved aesthetic beauty – something I used to feel guilty for, which I now embrace. I can appreciate a good rug or living room design like a boss. But how quickly we become attached to our material possessions, seeing them not as gifts or privileges but as entitlements. I never want to take the gifts I’ve been given for granted.

Could YOU Let Go?

There was a moment in the tearing down of walls, the dust, and the subsequent putting back together that I asked myself how I would feel if this was all taken away from me. What if our house burned down tomorrow (it’s happened before to a friend of mine), or if God called us to a different part of the world? Could I let it go?

I’d like to think that the answer would be an exuberant, YES. Yes, I could let it all go, for I know that what awaits me is much, much greater than a beautiful kitchen. But in the meantime, I will open the doors of our home to the best of my ability, with open hands and a heart that is overflowing with grateFULLness.

Tell me, what in your life would be hard to let go of?

Life Under Contruction: Lessons Learned in Gratefulness & Letting Go. Read more at www.slowdownanddo.com


About Erin

I'm a thirty-something, coffee-loving mom of two living in a funky neighborhood in Seattle....all while seeking a balance between keeping up and slowing down.

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