Our family is preparing for a pretty major remodel of our house. We bought this property almost eight years ago and we haven’t done any updates to speak of. The only thing we’ve done is paint the living room and put in new carpet in said living room after I it felt like I was not going to survive our first winter here. In wanting to honor my grandmother who moved next door when we came here, we only did very minor things to the house. After a few years we carved out a space in the kitchen so we could install a dishwasher (huge yes!), in the meantime we had the plumber keep us on his calendar for sometimes weekly service calls to repair whatever had gone bad in the last few weeks. The house was about thirty years old when we bought it, and when you go from one person using everything minimally, to five people using everything a lot every day, things start to break. A lot.
In some ways it’s been stressful to be the one living in “grandma’s house”, because you know, this place holds a lot of memories and reminders of a by-gone era that at least some people expect you to preserve. That’s a lot of pressure. There, I said it. People have expectations and they’re disappointed when they’re not met.
Here’s the thing. It’s time to make grandma’s house our house. To really make it our home and to make it work for the way our family lives. We’ve shifted and made do and now it’s time to make it a place where we can fully utilize the space they way that works best for the way we have chosen to live our lives. That looks different from the life that my grandparents lived. It doesn’t make their life less or unimportant, because they lived it out the way they were meant to, the way that worked for that time and place. They made some radical decisions in their lifetime and had the courage to live out those decisions. Now it’s time for me to do that. This house served my grandparents well; now it’s time for it to serve us well.
My point today is not to convince anyone that it’s okay for us to remodel our house. My point is that so often we keep using something that is good enough, rather than giving that up for something better. When we are willing to let go of what was useful and serviceable for a long time so we can utilize something better, we are moving forward. I think being okay with the way things have always been is one of the easiest ways to miss out on better things that might be right at our fingertips.
I started writing this piece a day or two ago, and then a friend posted this quote on Facebook (thanks, Joe):
“Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you, and in this materialistic age a great many of us are possessed by our possessions.” –Peace Pilgrim
I believe this is true of much more than our material possessions. Our material possessions may be where it’s most obvious, but I think this also holds true in our spiritual lives and dare I say even in our churches. We get so married to how we’ve always known things to be that we can’t even see the new possibilities on the horizon. We can’t see that laying down what was good and served us well for a long time could be the foundation for something even better and more true to what is needed for the present and also for the future. As Luke, another friend, has said many times, “Good is the enemy of best.”
So, how is it for you? Do you find it easy to let go of the good to embrace what is better?Are you spending your time repairing and maintaining what used to be good and useful, or are you building for the future? How do you honor the past while building for the future? How do you make this time and space your time and space?
Here’s to letting go of the good and embracing something better! Let’s do this!
Leave a comment – I would love to hear your thoughts.