Monday, August 29, 2011


"Nothing worth having is easy."

Katie is taking a life skills class from a fabulous teacher who tries to inspire her class with simple, meaningful, daily quotes. Katie writes some of them on the white board in our kitchen. This was today's quote.

Boy, is it true.

I was thinking about how this applies to family life this morning, as I dug through the post-Sunday mess and tried to pull the house back together. I feel guilty for thinking this stage of life is hard because people will tell you all the time how the best years are when your children are young. They reminisce about how much they miss the little handprints on the wall and the pitter-patter of little feet. I always want to ask if they miss the footprints on the walls where the boys continually climb up to hang from the ledges that the architect put there just to torture mothers? Or do they miss the feeling that a herd of elephants has escaped and is running through the house, as kids chase one another up and down the hallways? What about the crushed top ramen noodles all over the kitchen floor where somebody was eating at the computer, again, even though it's against the rules? Because I am just not sure I am going to miss any of those things later.

This morning during some rare time alone, I was pondering how messy and busy and crazy life feels right now. Into my mind came this image:

Imagine that you are building a house. You begin with the foundation. At that point, you've created a big mess; it's just a big slab of cement that sure doesn't look like much.

Next, you begin to add the frame. There are nails and sawdust and tools everywhere. The progress is slow, and things begin to take a bit of shape, but the house is really still a picture in your mind. It takes imagination to see how this frame will become the comfortable home of the future.

Eventually, you begin to add the walls and roof. Then the details start to come into place, as you add the specific items needed for each room in the house. It's a long, slow process, but over time, with patience and work, the house will finally be finished.

I realized that we are in the middle of building a family, which is not unlike building a house. We laid the foundation when we had the children. Over the years, we have put up the frame. But now are the years of adding the details to finish each individual. It is slow, specific, time-consuming work. Each person in the family, like each room in the house, needs something different and needs individual attention during this stage. A lot of our time goes to supporting children in sports, school, and activities, and in celebrating their individual achievements and accomplishments. Oh, and in feeding people and then cleaning up from feeding people. It's messy work. Yet there are glimpses of the people they will become.

One additional thought I had. No one would ever tell you as you are building a house that the greatest joy comes during the building time. Sure, it's exciting to see the work progress, and it feels good to be working hard on something that is important. But it's a lot of work. There are years of joy to be had when the majority of the work is behind you, and you get to live in the completed house!

This image sure helped me to feel more patient with our current stage of life. It's messy and it's slow, but we are accomplishing a great work in the lives of each one of our children.

And isn't that what life is really all about?