Friday, August 18

Letting Go

To start, this is a sideways picture of a canoe bookcase. I'm sorry you have to turn your head to view it, but I have no idea how to turn a picture in Blogger, and I wanted to you see it.

SO, to continue, some would call this piece of furniture an insurance policy, a bargaining tool, leverage. But not me. I choose not to be that kind of wife. To let you in on the story, Hero Guy and I built our own house (which I did not want to do). We then moved into said house before it was totally completed (which I also did not want to do). Now we have a 10-year-old house that is ready for some updating (new carpeting, painting walls, etc., along with some projects that never ended up getting finished. Like our basement.

The original house plans included 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a great room, a kitchen/dining room AND a finished basement/family room. To make a long story short, the basement has never gotten finished. It's not even inhabitable. It's the typical "cellar" right now, dusty, used for storage and collecting junk. It became a thorn in the side of our marriage for a period of about five years (because of me). It became the center of every little argument, the reason to get irritated, the perfect topic to bring up every time we talked about our house. I would even make a point to bring it up in public and basically every person we know at one time or another has joked "Is your basement done yet?" At one point, our relationship was looking a bit shaky and I was angry, depressed and frustrated...because I didn't have a finished basement (go figure). Hero Guy was determined to finish it himself, resisting every mention of letting a contractor come in and do the work, but it just never got done.

During that time God really began working on me, asking me some point-blank questions like "Are you really willing to ruin a perfectly good relationship over a room in a house?" and "Other than not finishing your basement, doesn't Hero Guy have pretty much every single quality you could ask for in a husband/mate?" and "Would having a finished basement truly bring you happiness and satisfaction, making all the rest of your life a perfect place to be?" Sounds crazy, doesn't it? I'm the perfect example of how you can drive yourself nuts over the goofiest details and make those small things seem like life-shattering obstacles.

It reminds me of the movie, War of the Roses. If you've never seen it, I don't recommend it because it is very depressing. But the basic premise is a perfect relationship souring over time because of little tiny irritants, and becoming a full-blown war against one another filled with bitterness and resentment.

The point is, as I reflected and listened to my conscience, I realized that I had let something material become the center of my life, that I was choosing to ignore every other good thing and focusing on the one minor detail. I finally began to see some things clearly. 1) Hero Guy truly doesn't have time or energy to finish the basement right now. 2) Hero Guy built the entire house and the thought of having someone else's workmanship in it, made him feel like some of his ownership was gone. 3) Hero Guy did have full intention of finishing the basement, and not getting it done was a lack of time, not a lack of love or commitment to me. I finally told him that he was officially off the hook from ever doing the basement and that I would be content to live in our house without a finished basement. If he ever did finish it off, it would be a bonus and he could do it in his own time if he ever wanted to. It's amazing how much I've liked my house ever since then.

Coming back to the above picture, on our most recent camping trip, we stopped into an Adirondack store. This bookcase was on sale for half-price. I've been bugging Hero Guy to get me another bookcase so I can get the stacks off my bedroom floor. It goes perfectly with the hunting theme that Hero Guy wants to use in the basement. And it looks very much like the real canoe that he has. After much doe-eyed begging, Hero Guy convinced me that it would fit in with all our camping gear we had to lug home, I can use it for my books and he is immediately going to begin working on the basement. So far I've done a good job at being balanced--offering to help him and looking forward to some progress, but not getting my heart set and then broken because real life settles in again.

We'll see how it goes. For now, this thing is breaking up the theme of my coordinated hydrangea bedroom set. But I do have my books off the floor, and that's always a plus.

6 of Your THINKS:

Laurie said...

What a great story to share, Jen! You have a great uy there, and he's blessed to have you! Don't doubt it for a second! Steve and I have been down a similar road. Isn't it amazing what maturity and Listening to God instead of ourselves can do? I feel bad when I look back at the early years and what we fought and nearly split over. But God is gracious and got us through, as He did you, so hopefully, your story will help someone else! Love ya Sis!

Debbie said...

Great post! Sometimes a change of heart and a new perspective is all that's really needed.

Panda-Mom said...

First, the sideways pic cracks me up because I thought you were soooo hip with all this cyber stuff. Second, it takes a humble spirit to admit our wrong attitudes. I commend you and hope for the best in the cellar. We don't have those in Texas so everything collects in the garage. Hey, I am done with my meme like yours. I LOVED reading your answers!

Anonymous said...

I am the same way, Jennifer! SOOO Many things are undone in our home but I KNOW Chris is busy and it will be done at some point. As long as my home is the center of our family, nothing else matters!
It will get done and then you can celebrate!

calhounfamily said...

nice ca-shelf. when hero-guy gets to the finish work in the basement tell him to make contact. we'll do a road trip and pitch-in for a day. volunteer, friend help shouldn't take his signature off of the project. i know how he feels, we remodeled a couple homes, one was an 1800s farm house, and you do bond with a project and tend to be uncomfortable with strangers handling it..
i enjoyed the description of your path to abandonment and selflessness. it is to often portrayed as a sort of spritual mysticism when in reality it is as you described, a hands-on, day-to-day giving up of ourselves to others and to God.
as always, good post

mary ellen said...

Cool bookshelf - and if the day comes when the basement is indeed finished it will look great there too!

What a great post, and you were so honest and open about it, isn't it amazing how happy a marriage is when those kind of no-win battles are given up? I've learned that the hard way too. :-)