Grateful for Grief

We are just shy of 1 year. Broken pipes, no heat, no ceiling and no sanity. Okay, there was a tiny bit of sanity left but after a year long house overhaul there wasn’t much. In conversation with those who have done this home remodel stuff before their knowing looks are all the same. They smile and nod and say something like, “Expect the unexpected.” Or “We’ve been through that ourselves. Hang in there! It’ll be worth it.” I’m so glad we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It always sounded like so much fun (I know, I’m a little crazy.) to see the transformation of our older home into something amazing. The potential was just under the surface, I could feel it!

When the deconstruction began so did the rain. It hadn’t rained in so long that the ground couldn’t soak it all up. In fact many stations were reporting local flooding and even talking about how California’s drought could be over because of all the rain we were getting! Take a look at the above picture. You see the wall cabinet to the far left of the picture? Well these old cabinets came down and just as the rain began. One night while we were walking through our now totally empty kitchen we noticed a little water feature, one we hadn’t planned for. The roof was leaking and water was running in down the wall! Honestly my first thought was ‘Well this is fantastic. How much will this cost us?!’ My hope was that we could get by with just a simple fix, no professional help needed…um no.
The roofer was called in and he did his job. Thankfully there was not too much damage and the work continued. Then there was the electrical issue. So the electrician was scheduled and the problem was handled. Each time there was a problem a professional was called in to fix it.
How many times in our lives do we try to “fix” our own problems? We try to keep them to ourselves. The problem with trying to patch everything ourselves is that eventually we become worn out and just give up. We didn’t call the carpet guy to take care of the plumbing. My husband didn’t climb up onto the roof to patch the leak, well, actually he tried but we still needed the professional.
We are stubborn aren’t we? My hand is raised too. I want to patch up an issue using the same old thinking that got me into the problem. When I read Matthew’s words I hear that I can’t patch a hole in my life by trying to match it with something that doesn’t fit. He (Matthew) says in 9:17, “Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will spill, and the wineskins will be ruined. Instead, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” When we come across a part of ourselves or our lives that need to change we usually try to just do patch jobs. We know that our hearts need to change but we think that we can just try to act differently instead of actually going to the One who knows our hearts fully and can change them.
The scripture talks of trying to fill something old with something new. Imagine if we would have just decided to hang our new cabinets right over the water leak? It would look really nice for a while, maybe if we kept the doors closed you wouldn’t even notice the water spot. Eventually though with the water sitting in the wall there would be mold and decay. Then we’d have to take the cabinet off the wall and replace it again. Costing time and more money. Isn’t it funny that Jesus was a carpenter while on Earth? He was and still is the Master Builder. He knows what “fixes” we need when life seems to fall apart around us.
Our hearts, just like the work on our house, takes time. Would I have loved to have our home all fixed up in a couple of weeks? Sure! However, the work took time. It took patience (mostly on my part) to let each professional do their job in the order that needed to be done. So many times I want to rush the work that God has to do in my heart, I want a quick fix. Something I’ve learned is that the grief I’ve experienced has enabled me to be the one who knowingly nods and says ‘hang in there, it’ll be worth it’ to others who are going through something tough. And because of that I’m grateful for the grief.
(If I was reading this I’d want to see ‘the after’ picture so here it is…)
– A