For years, I defined chaos as trying to deal with the hectic demands of work, family life, commitments and creative endeavors.
This week, I have encountered a whole different type of chaos — home repair.
There have been items in our house that have needed attention for a long time. We finally got to the point where we could no longer ignore the problems with our floor. Walking to the back porch became an exercise in balance as we avoided the dips and the increasing give in response to our weight. Our utility room suffered water damage due to past overflows from the washing machine and a pinprick drip from the water heater.
In preparation for the repairs, we emptied the utility room and two-thirds of the study. The result? Stuff piled up in every other room in the house. Items out of place that keep me from being able to do anything in those rooms because it would be totally futile. Everything will have to be moved again when the repairs are done. Everything will have to be cleaned again because the repairs are stirring up dust and debris. So I am leaving all the rooms alone for now as I scoot past the piles and feel closed in by our possessions.
There are work trucks parked in my driveway. Workers are in and out of my house. I thought perhaps this would be a time I could write since I can’t do much else. But there is constant noise — hammering, sawing, ripping out old wood, nailing. Then there is the unexpected. After all, in an old house you can never really be sure of the extent of the repairs until you open things up. I need to be available for input but I don’t want to be in the way. So I am shutting myself off in the den — hiding out, really — binge watching episodes of Father Brown on Netflix and cringing with each loud barrage of sawing, hammering and loud booms.
It is nerve wracking.
It is also temporary.
I have an end date. Perhaps today. Perhaps tomorrow. But it will end.
I will have a renovated utility room with new linoleum, freshly painted walls, and plumbing that does not leak. I will have a floor that is strong and bears the weight of the family without a problem. The final results will be well worth these few days of stress.
How many times do we get lost in the current chaos in our lives, feeling overwhelmed by the demands that swirl around us? With a special project like home repair, it is easy to see to the end. But in everyday life, the chaotic nature of everyday demands seem infinite. The truth is, these too are temporary. Children grow up and become self sufficient. Job duties (or maybe even employment itself) change. Family responsibility shifts. We learn how to say “no”. We find ourselves in a new normal. The things that so stressed us may even become inspirations to drive our creativity to new directions.
My challenge for you: look at the thing that is currently creating chaos in your life. Is this something that will come to an end? Can you use this to ultimately come to a positive outcome?