Life as I know it has ceased. I write this today to say goodbye, for I will soon enter a hell-on-earth existence, and I’m not sure I’ll survive. It’s been nice knowing you.
We’re adding onto our house. This week, we moved dirt. We rented a sod cutter and transported perfectly-cut squares of grass from one part of our yard to another. I broke a nail, y’all.
Now we’re digging, trying to tie into the existing septic line. (And when it comes to anything septic, “we” means Superman.) For the next several months, my peaceful country life will be a symphony of nail guns and drills, with a gentle overlay of sawdust.
For several years, we’ve schemed and dreamed and planned. We’ve created blueprint after blueprint, moving things from here to there, hoping for the day it will all become reality. We’ve looked at flooring and paint colors and bathtubs and light fixtures. That part has been fun, since shopping is my spiritual gift.
But it’s go time. And now that it’s here, I’m not sure I want to do this. I want to unbuckle my seatbelt and jump off the train. I want the end result, but I don’t want the painful, loud part of the construction process. I don’t like noise.
I’m scared, y’all.
Ten months is the time frame. Almost an entire year of BAM! BANG! ZZZZZZZT!
Ten months from now, I’ll have a new master bedroom and a brand new Taj-ma-closet, and we’ll have a lovely living space for my mom to move in with us. Ten months, and I’ll sit on my upstairs balcony overlooking our hilltop country scene, sipping my morning coffee and living the good life.
But only if I live through the construction process. It’s questionable.
Somehow, despite my fear, I’ve gritted my teeth and taken the plunge. After more than a half-century on this earth, I’ve learned that most things worth having come at a cost. And I’ve learned that often, before we can build something new, we have to tear down the old.
There’s a word for that. It’s called perseverance.
The way to lose that 20 pounds? Perseverance. The way to get that degree? Perseverance. The way to build that relationship, climb that mountain, reach that goal? Perseverance.
According to the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary, perseverance is a continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failures, or opposition. A synonym for perseverance is steadfastness.
I’ve found, in my own journey, the thing that causes me to give up before I’ve reached my goal is often fear. I’m afraid of failure, or afraid of what might happen. I’ve also learned that hope is the opposite of fear. Hope is the belief that something good will happen, while fear is the belief that something bad will happen. Hope is the key to perseverance.
Sometimes, bad things do happen. Sometimes, we fail. But here’s a key point: the bad things, the failures aren’t the end of the story. They’re just a necessary part of the journey. When we give up before we reach the goal, it’s like walking out half-way through the movie. If we’ll persevere, we’ll eventually reach our happy ending. We’ll eventually find our happily-ever-after.
So today, I’ll keep going. I’ll squeeze my eyes shut and move forward. I’ll press on with hope, knowing that at the end of it all, I’ll be glad I did.
In the meantime, I’ll invest in some really good earplugs.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him,” James 1:12.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.