Do not rebuild my life in the exact same way it was before. It’s time for me to rebuild based on who I am growing into.
Author Maria Goff essentially summed up the main lesson from the past year of my life in her book Love Lives Here. In the excerpt below, she is referring to her family’s long-time cabin burning down to the ground. Everything inside of it was now gone, every item which contained countless memories. There was an instant temptation to rebuild the cabin exactly how it was before. As if the memories, the lessons, the warmth of friendships birthed and grown in the cabin could be rebuilt physically as well. However, with wisdom as the guide, Maria clarifies:
We’ll build something that will serve who we’ve become, not just repeat who we were. The biggest mistake we could all make in our lives [emphasis added] is to rebuild things we’ve outgrown or to live in constant fear that we might lose what we have all over again. It won’t be the fires that destroy our lives and our faith. It will be obsessing over not getting burned again that will.
Ouch. This drilled way down into me. I think dental work from the 1800’s would be less painful to endure than this quote.
Maria’s focus on two aspects of this strike me. The first is the temptation to rebuild things we’ve outgrown. It is hard to admit to defeat in an area in life. But it may be harder to pivot in an area of life because we have grown up since we first set out on the mission.
It could have been years ago when we decided on X, but the conditions we were in when the decision was made are no longer present. I could hold onto the romanticized version of the way I hoped it all would turn out when I started out on a venture. Or I could let the cold-water-splash-in-the-face take more of an effect than just sending shivers down my spine. The conditions are no where near the way they were before. There’s no good use utilizing old blueprints drawn up back then to start the process all over again now.
Her second emphasis is on the fear of building again at all. More poignant for me, this weighs heavy as I can carry the metaphor of not being burned again, or at all, to extremely fearful bounds. Something of great value was lost to Maria and her family. Yet, there was a resilience in building something new and different based on who they have become.
Not only will the cabin be new, but it will be built. I can paralyze myself just thinking of getting back up and trying again. But why try the exact same thing again? We all need to try again but in step with her first point, it will be different this time.
In a sense it will be different anyway, even if we want to start the same task or goal over the exact same way. We’ll have the experience of the failure with us. It will be a different time in our lives. We’ll maybe even be physically somewhere else. Regardless, if we start with new or old blueprints we must be willing to risk fire getting to our final product again.
Weren’t all the memories created in the first cabin worth it all anyway? That’s why we build again. But it’s also why we build based on who we are now.