How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Selah
Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed.
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.
It's not lovely.
It's a mess.
This is really pushing my limits to see the divine in everything.
But I am reminded of a quote by the founder of osteopathic medicine, Andrew Taylor Still:
"A man dreads to give up his old boots for fear the new ones will pinch his feet."
That's how I feel about this, um...project.
It started two years ago, right about the time of the Kirksville tornado in 2009.
I've said this before--I tend to hoard things. I really have no "nesting" skills. Since moving here, it was sort of like my whole goal was to keep my house such a shambles that I could use it as an excuse to keep people out of it. I honestly don't care a hill of beans about sweeping, dusting, or cleaning. It's like I have an autism about it. I am happy just to live in the dirt and mess, and say, "Don't like it? Then don't come over."
But it was about that time I started meeting new friends on Facebook--interesting friends that I shared a certain spiritual depth with--and started visiting them. They were kind enough to let me stay in their homes as their guest. I would always go home, sad and morose, that, should they come to town, I could not return the favor. I didn't even HAVE a guest bed.
So, the evisceration started. Slowly at first.
I rented a dumpster. I started pitching stuff. It took me almost a year to even fill a dumpster. I kept going, "I can't throw this out! I can't throw that out!"
Over the winter, I talked to some friends outside of Kirksville about this. I didn't want to talk to hardly anyone in Kirksville about what I had in mind.
You see, I had decided to pretty much give most everything I own away--sell what was sellable at the auction house, and give away what probably would not bring much. I was afraid if too many people in Kirksville got wind of it, what I was doing might alarm people that possibly some of the issues I'd been dealing with had gotten to me to the point I was giving my stuff away in preparation to off myself or something.
So I did. I sold most of my various collections, I threw out three industrial-sized dumpster loads of stuff, and I gave away all my furniture (except for what is in the two rooms I am living in presently--and that will go later) to a victim support group. I tossed loads and loads of personal stuff--mementos and photos and little kitchy things--in the dumpster--in fact I wrote about this one, here.
Now the contractors are here, and 2/3 of my house is gutted, and it's not like I didn't know this is what would happen. But I find many places to still be stressed. My contractor asked me to pick a flooring pattern and paint. My friends who are into "nesting" have far, far too much to say about this. I am very afraid of women who have memorized the Benjamin Moore paint palette. I feel "selfish" somehow. I could have taken all this money and given it to the poor, or given it to the church, but I am caring for myself, here. This truly IS all about me.
I'm going to be really blunt here. My house is gutted, and I'm miserable, and even the dogs don't like the way the house is right now. Where is the divinization in THIS?
I'm also uncomfortable about my very small history of "what happens in my life when I remodel a house." The last time I did this, I only lived in the "new, improved" version for two years--and then I moved away from it--took the job in Kirksville I presently have. I think about all these uncertain things in my future--both things that I believe God is calling me to explore, and things that are not of my making--that all make for a very uncertain future for me. But I'm spending a wad of money fixing up my house. But I was a bit stuck there. The weird weather, the winds, and the rain did force the issue in some places. But don't think for a minute, that even though my experience is "N = 1," I do remember vividly what happened in the "1". I can think of that and feel absolutely covered in dread.
Well two things happened. One was I saw this article. I was reminded that our discomfort is natural. It's okay to be uncomfortable, because that is how God works in me. I am learning I don't have to dread every discomforting thing. I have had recent good successes in simply sticking with things--that Benedictine concept of "stability." I might be hunkered down in the whirlwind, but I am quiet and stable, and that counts for a lot.
I was reminded by my blog friend Lisa that I started this in the hopes of being more hospitable--so people had a place to stay--and to not lose sight of that. It's easy for me to lose sight. That's another place where that inner Benedictine in me has voice. I have changed in my attitude of hospitality. Some of this does come from a desire that my home be more hospitable to the visitor and the traveler.
Oh, in the grand scheme of things, I don't know what this means. But Ill keep plugging away at it, you know?