Renovations aren’t just for kitchens, bedrooms or backyards; life offers us the opportunity to be remodeled too.
Funny, though, that while it’s easy to be excited about remodeling our kitchen or making changes to our bathroom, we often forget the joy and excitement of allowing ourselves to be renovated.
To renovate means to make changes and so, making changes to our “inner homes” is often accompanied by fear and discomfort causing us to miss the joy. Yet who we are, what we like, what brings us meaning and purpose – all those things change over time and finding joy in our renovated selves is part of our spiritual journey.
Let’s face it, it’s easy to get stuck lamenting what is gone or over. Sometimes we don’t feel complete because we’re not what we used to be. “So much has changed,” we sigh. But the good news of remolding is just that – we’re not supposed to be what we were before; we’re not supposed to be like we were at 25 or 45. We’ve been renovated.
Accepting ourselves and celebrating our remolded selves is so important. Taking inventory of all we have accomplished and all the ways we have grown, helps us to see how God has made us new. Like all renovations, our lives took hard work at every phase. Sometimes a hammer (or life) whacked us on the thumb, sometimes we tripped over the toolbox in the living room, sometimes we had to start the whole project over again because it didn’t come out right. Some of life’s renovations were out of our control: a death, divorce, job change; while others came because we chose them – a new health choice, a new attitude, taking up a new project.
I often see people trying desperately to put their old selves into their current situation. I suppose there’s some comfort in the old … in old habits, old routines and old expectations. But maybe we lose something when we close our imagination to what might be new.
In my faith tradition, Jesus says we are foolish to try and put the old into the new. “No one puts new wine into old wineskins, otherwise the wine will burst the skins and the wine is lost, and so are the skins, but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” Mark. 2:22
I say we stop trying to fit into old wineskins. What if we saw whatever our current circumstances and whoever we are in this moment, what if we saw ourselves as new wine and whatever is going on around us as the opportunity to create new wineskins? By which I really mean, what if we were to celebrate everything we are right now, our remodeled selves, at whatever age?
What if we had the courage to make any additional changes that would make us happier, more energized, less afraid? To renovate a home, we have to let go of the old and be willing (and with any luck, maybe even be excited) to accept the new. The same is true of our inner homes.
I realize making new wine and new wineskins is always messy – I’ve seen that episode of “I Love Lucy!” – it takes a lot of crushing, stomping and mushing. Life is messy for sure, but after all the hard work you’ve put in, why not celebrate what is good and new?
Next time you look in a mirror, don’t see the wrinkles or the greys or any of the other negative things we usually notice. Instead see the renovated you, made beautiful and fresh by age. Welcome yourself home, invite yourself in for a glass of wine, take a deep breath and say, “Wow, the place looks great!”
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