Living in the Projects

Living in the Projects

The upstairs of our house is down to its studs. A major project is underway. Between now and the vision of a new bathroom and bedroom is a gorge of unimaginable proportions. New inlaid pipes leak like a tin can shot full of holes. We turn the water off, and we turn it back on. The hot water isn’t working well. Half way through my shower it turns to ice. I yell. There are spots on the ceiling in the kitchen from the the times the call, “Turn the water off!” didn’t bring fast enough results. My laundry room is piled into the dining room, the upstairs guest room into the extra basement room, our bedroom into the basement. A big blue electrical cord winds its way from upstairs to down stairs, across the wall behind the TV. I can’t seem to concentrate on the screen with that thing snaked behind it.

I am living in the projects.

Ok, not the real projects, and I have no reason to complain. Ever. But, living in the midst of a major house project is replicated in my spirit. I feel turned upside down, topsy turvy, un-nested. I’ve lost focus and energy, as if the film of dust that covers the house covers me.

The drilling upstairs sends a small lampshade airborne from the dancing chandelier above me. I duck and my heart jumps. My nerves are undone by the mess, banging and hammering. A nail pokes through near the crack in the ceiling, and the fire alarm siren screams, “Fire, fire.”

My calm mature husband assures me with steady voice, and patient outspread blackened hands that it is all part of the big project, this tear down must happen in order to build again. He assures me that the house is neither burning up nor falling down. He says that although there have been setbacks, it is all part of the bigger picture.

Yet, it affects me. It’s a transition of sorts, and I’m unprepared for this in-between of the old and the new. I’m caught off guard by what is coming out of my cracks, the places where my spirituality and my humanity don’t quite meet. I find plenty on which to blame my discontent and shortness. Where before dark crevices hid stuff, now all sorts of junk falls out. Chinks from the projects show dusty streams of light between studs, and like those beams my own undetected issues are highlighted.

I don’t want to miss the lessons.

This morning I read, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls,” Prov. 25:28. Is that me, Lord? I realize that it isn’t the physical walls that are the source of my agitation, it is the inability to live in the situation without letting it rule my spirit. Sure, my surroundings affect my mood and state of being, but it doesn’t excuse snarky behavior. When Solomon wrote the verse in Proverbs, a city without walls was a serious problem. It meant the city was open to attack and destruction. My broken down walls mean I am vulnerable too. This agitation and annoyance I feel coming out of my cracks demonstrates a foundation that needs some divine reinforcement.

Wall me in Lord, with your grace and your strength, that when my life is pushed and shoved, jostled by an unruly spirit, You are my stability. You are my security. Shine your light through my cracks and fill my lacking spirit with Yourself.

More about the projects here:


4 Replies

  1. Susan Kroeker Reply

    Wonderful way with words, Sylvia! Let us pray for one another.

  2. Linda Brucato Reply

    Reading this makes me grateful for all these years as a RENTER!!!

  3. Don L. Pahl Reply

    Kady, my assistant, brought my attention to this 2-year old blog…timely for today, Sylvia. I love exceptional and thoughtful writing! Sign me up!