Dan and I have an amazing contractor and crew—Ben, Randall, Billy, and Cody.
But they’re awfully messy.
They tossed our deck into a pile of boards. Pipes and wiring are hanging out of what used to be our kitchen. And insulation is falling out of places where new structure is tied into the existing house.
Walking through our rearranged house, Ben, our contractor, made this observation about remodel projects:
It has to get worse before it can get better.
Which made me think of when we take on anything worthwhile—let’s say, starting a family.
There are diapers and sleepless nights and the Terrible Twos when our sweet little angels want to do things their way and by themselves.
It gets messier from there with the awkward, dramatic ‘tween years, followed by the teen years when our adolescents aren’t speaking to us half the time.
And then this child leaves home and one day returns as a responsible young person who sits long over the dining table in adult conversations with us.
And we wonder how we got it so right after all the mistakes we made and all the messes they made.
It had to get messy before it could get better.
So, you want to keep things neat and organized?
Don’t get married or have kids. Don’t even have friends because relationships can get messy.
Don’t plan for college or a vocation. Don’t build a business or a non-profit. Don’t coach a team, or teach piano, or take up nursing, or volunteer to help released prisoners integrate back into society.
Don’t plan to do anything significant with your life.
Because most worthwhile undertakings will get messy and frustrating and overwhelming before they get better.
Dan and I had two goals for this build/update project: 1) To create more space for our combined kids and grands to spread out when they visit; and 2) For resale value when we’re gone and the kids have to deal with selling the place.
Dan had this insight—not just about our house, but about the bigger picture:
We’re building a future … and the future is not just about us.
I’m the organized, efficient girl with her lists who doesn’t much care for disorder and disorganization. Keeping rooms and closets and our lives de-cluttered has amazing benefits.
But I also know how to relax and enjoy our guests and not care that their toddler is rearranging the books in our bookshelves or leaving handprints on the glass doors.
Sometimes life calls for setting aside ‘neat and organized’ and building a future—not just for ourselves but for the people who will benefit as our patients, our students and clients, as the recipients of our investment in their lives.
And then it continues onward from there in a domino effect.
What if we could invest wisely and not care that there will be a mess and uncertainty and maybe even little pockets of failure before it gets better?
What future are we building?