What is it about demolition? This is what’s going on next to my home. I was almost late for work this morning as I watched the house next door being torn down, staring in fascination as the excavator made the walls seem as flimsy as paper. This house has been an eyesore as long as I’ve been here, not even worth fixing. I don’t know what happened to the old lady who lived here. I used to hear her TV on at all hours of the night, hear her calling to the stray cats she fed. Perhaps she moved to someplace where she is now being taken care of, or perhaps she died.
We received the notification that they are building something new. I’ve watched each day the trucks drive by, a tree cut down, port-o-potty put in place. Today, this is what I saw. Tonight, I can see the light in the window of the next house over. The space where the house was lovelier than the house that used to live there.
I love to watch buildings come down, when it’s done on purpose and safely. There’s some pleasure in the destruction, especially when it’s run-down and ugly, no longer useful. I see the space and wonder what will be built in it’s place. I dream a little bit about what I’d build there, if I had unlimited resources.
Not so much the destruction of my own patterns, habits, ways of being that are no longer serving me. No. Not when it’s personal. That demolition is rarely done on purpose or safely. Despite the ugliness, the un-usefulness, despite the old ways of being actually blocking me from progress, rarely do I dismantle them peacefully or the first time I’m told. I resist that shit until the walls are falling down around me, until the painful, shitty thing has happened AGAIN. Until it seems I’ve failed. In the same way. Again.
I hold my own patterns, the stories I’ve been telling myself my whole life, close to me, as if they are a security blanket. They are all I know. I don’t know who I am without them. So, I keep repeating them.
I have dreams. I can see something more beautiful for my life. I can see my purpose, I can see joy, I can see love. But when it comes time to demolish the security of my old ways of being, I don’t believe that I have the resources to build what I dream. I can’t see how much lovelier the space than the worn-out building.
Until the Universe comes in with the excavator. Little by little, decisions not made by me force me to change my plans. Little by little, my comfortable life feels not so comfortable. Decisions I’ve made turn out more challenging than I thought they’d be. Plans I had for the way everything would play out don’t play out that way. Time and time again, it feels like my world is crumbling, falling down around me. It’s not as satisfying as watching the building come down.
Until I’ve had enough. Until I’m finally sick of my own shit. That’s what it takes when you’re stubborn.
This time, I’ll make the decision myself to change. It’s going to happen anyway; this time I’ll be the architect. I’ll drive the excavator, with faith in the passenger seat. I surrender.
I see the beauty in the space I’ve created for myself. Without my stories, I have a clean slate. I can see a light in the window in the house on the other side. And everywhere I turn, grace.