As I write this I’m looking out the window of a coffee shop in my neighborhood at a building being built. It’s about half completed and it looks ugly.
Some walls haven’t been completely built. There are no finishing aspects such as windows, air conditioner units, or landscaping. Floors are visibly unfinished with wall studs open to the outdoor elements. Construction debris litters the ground. The exterior of the building is partially covered in ugly gray stone that clearly doesn’t look right and should be rethought by the design team.
I pass this building on my daily commute twice a day and every time I see it I wish they would tear it down and restart their efforts or at worst abandon the project altogether.
With cranes, scaffolding, and other sore sights this building could as easily be a dilapidated building as a brand new construction. I can draw only two conclusions of the finished state by looking at what I see:
- I could be completely right and the building could be a complete architectural fiasco. Much like this finished architectural anomaly on 23rd Street.
- I could be wrong and it could turn out to be a well designed and visually pleasing building that will add beauty and purpose to my daily commute forever and ever and ever.
Maybe that second opinion was slightly over the top but the fact remains that I can only see what I see. I’m not the designer nor am I the architect with the master plans. Moreover, I have a vision of what it could be that may or may not line up with the final outcome.
Seasons of renewal and transformation bring points of this important architecture critique (OK, it’s really fairly trivial, right?) to bear in my personal life. These are the seasons where things are moving and changing, the times of life where I feel most uncomfortable because I am dealing with the tug of war in my heart, with my faith, in my being. It’s the place of personal importance where I play critic to a process that is not entirely mine. It’s the place where I want to give up pain for fleeting pleasure.
It’s the tug of war between something being made out of nothing. It’s about change versus the status quo. The moments where beliefs are being formed where nothing existed before.
I want to pass judgement, I want to make hasty changes, and most of all I want to believe that my opinion about my current state is in actuality fact. The truth is that during these times of my life I have very little idea of up from down, let alone the prowess to critique my current state.
When I look at the past, I can see that growth comes often in a messy, chaotic, and disorganized form.
However, when I look at the present I want life to be ideal and orderly – most definitely without complications.
God knows we are broken vessels but from day one he has striven for us to live more fully and completely. He is the architect and the designer of our lives. He, not me, holds the vision of the final product – every intricate change, every minute adjustment, and every moment of growth. Don’t be fooled by the sometimes cliche movement of God’s work. When you look at the course of human history he has spent more time participating in the formation of mankind than any other endeavor.
Embrace the messy.
These seasons are painful because they challenge me to surrender control in areas that I would rather not.
They hold a bigger vision than what I can see.
Maybe the moment that everything click comes after this season or after the next or even at the end of a lifetime of seasons. No matter when, today’s moment is worth it because one day you’ll look at it and see the beauty created under such unsuspecting circumstances.
The mess and disorder – the pain and chaos – in our lives might well be indicators of something beautiful, something profoundly important still to come.