Saturday, July 27, 2013

Construction Zone

“Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.”
― Carl Bard

Copyright All rights reserved by Kraftfolio
Did you ever build houses out of playing cards?  You spent time carefully constructing the walls, sometimes with shaking hands, and then you slowly added to the bottom layer with a second floor.  The house was always precarious and almost anything could knock it over in an instant.  All your hard work crashed to the floor with the opening of a door or a slight breeze from the dog's tail.  You learned not to cry about it or even bemoan it too much.  It was just a playing card house, after all.  You could always build a new one.

Life is like that, isn't it?  You spend all this time carefully constructing your days.  You pick people to spend time with and you add them to your little structure.  You may have a job that holds up one or two of your walls.  You add experiences and layers until, lo and behold, you've built a little life... 

...until something knocks it down.  Or someone.  Maybe it was even you who did the dirty demolition.  Your carefully built life crashes down around you while you protect yourself (as much as you're able) from the falling debris.

When the worst is over, you can survey the damage.  And you move through the wreckage to decide what to save.  Sometimes you don't save much of anything.  People and experiences are shuffled to the side while you search for new people who fit into the new life you imagine.  And then you begin to carefully reconstruct your life, piece by piece and layer by layer.  You rebuild until you need to knock out another wall or expand or until you need to start over from scratch once again.

Copyright All rights reserved by Jay Gould
My life-house is currently scattered around me on the floor.  I was the one who rode the wrecking ball.  I took a hammer to several layers of my life.  And I did it intentionally.  The life I was building didn't suit me...or, rather, it didn't suit the NEW me.  The demolition wasn't quick and goodness knows it wasn't easy.  But I had to tear it down.  There are still pieces of it leaning together that need to come down but I know that the next strong breeze will take them out, too.

There is a healthy version of me who has recently emerged.  (Yeah, I'm surprised, too.)  After years of soul-searching, therapy, self-help books, prayer, reflection, introspection, more therapy, more prayer and constant (I mean CONSTANT) self-examination, a person I can live with is finally coming out of the ashes.  This person has boundaries, gratitude, humor and, perhaps most of all, self-respect.  She was apparently there all along but I'd only seen glimpses of her before so I was SURE she was a fake like those people who say they can predict the outcome of your life by looking at your palm.

So, I stand here, looking at my beautifully broken life.  I accept that change is inevitable and even welcome.  It was tough (and scary) to make difficult choices during deconstruction. I know that some (many) people will rejoin me in the rebuild and I know that others will fade away into memory.  I cherish these experiences and these people for they've become a part of the foundation of the next building phase.  They have helped make me strong.  I can only hope that my impact on their lives has been even a fraction as profound.

There are many challenges ahead.  Building a new life will take even longer than demolishing the old one.  But this time, I plan to build intentionally.  I will choose my materials with greater care and I will ensure the walls are solid and able to withstand the storms that will surely come.

And this time I will build with steady hands...hands that don't shake with uncertainty but ones that are strong with faith and gratitude.  In the building, I will pause to appreciate and reflect instead of rushing ahead to see what the next phase holds.   

And then we'll see.

Have you ever started over?  Let me know how it went.  Or how it's going.  Advice is always appreciated.  Please add your comments below!

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