“It’s a process.” I hear this a lot lately. And I feel impatient with the idea, because anything requiring a process to complete is going to take time and concentrated effort . But I’m learning that the destination or the completion of a process is not necessarily the goal. Fresh baked muffins are beautiful and yummy, but the fun of them starts back with the stirring up the batter and creating my own homemade liners with parchment.
So the processes of home making: cleaning, decorating, and even baking can become an art or a crafting to be enjoyed all along the way. Actually it better be enjoyed along the way because as life goes; these things are never truly done. If you think about it very long at all, you’d have to admit that getting the house perfect for the last time forever would be heartbreaking. Unless Heaven took its place.
There are a few places in our house that most people never see. The stairway to the “lower level” (much nicer sounding than basement), is one of those places. Years ago I painted the rocks which added a measurable amount of cheer to our dank and ugly basement. But lately, little by little, we’ve been insulating. I know I’m supposed to be delighted about that, but frankly I miss my rock walls. It seems to me that we lose the solid, rugged, fortress-ness of them. Spray foam just doesn’t cut it for quaint or rustic or even close to pretty. Spray foam is for the feels; not the looks. Insulation is good for staying warm in winter and cool in summer. And it is good for the pocket book, too. But,if I had fussed and fumed all these years about these cold, stone walls instead of loving them up with paint and a little acceptance I would have missed a lot of goodness of cottage living.
I’m sure it’s lovely living in a completed house: no missing trim boards, no delayed remodelings, new cabinets, fresh floorings and window coverings, no needed repairs, and no leaks or ceiling stains. But that’s just not part of who we are nor is our house ever going to be completed. It’s too old and unique and stubborn. But it lives us cozy. And we’re grateful.
So I got to thinking about our church. See, we have these “issues”. Give it any term you like. It so happens that at our church we are in process. Maybe other churches are full of people who have taken care of all of their personal baggage and have grown up beyond the need of processing or healing or whatever fancy word you wish to apply to growing in grace. But, well, we still have stuff. Actually, some of us, if I’m honest, have been holding off the growing up process out of fear of someone else’s stuff or from our own inside, untold stories.
Again, the journey is the deal. Talking things over. Crying about what hurt. Admitting anger and frustration. Learning to even talk or tell our own stories has felt like jumping off a cliff sometimes. Being able to hear each other, for real, is hard work. And we are such silly stoics. Honestly, we are so full of our own selfish righteousness. We can’t see much past that. And we somehow believe that to admit that we hurt inside is weak. Just like this old stone house, we are unique and stubborn. We have Jesus, though, Who said He would build His church. This is an on-going work, completely functional, while we learn.
I have been reading books lately. Old fashioned novels, biography, and new works by people I know. It’s the nicest kind of recess and I recommend it to anyone who has been too taken up with solving and feels hopeless. If you find you’re fed up with the “whole dumb discussion”, it is high time to back away and re-discover the grace of space and quiet. Often God is there, waiting for you to get over yourself and let Him be Who He is.