rehabing an old fence and the life lessons with it

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This weekend was sort of an odds and ends as we chip away at our great wall project. Someone might think us insane for taking on something so big.

And they would probably be right...
if it weren't for the empowerment that results in attempting something beyond yourself and actually accomplishing it...

or even just the attempt.

And for all of the blog entries over the last few years that look like a "what I did today" entry, there actually is some deeper life lessons here.

These are just a few things that are emerging in this experience. Spiritual, soul changing, character building stuff...

1. Something worthwhile takes time.
We are such a hurry up culture that everything around us from instant cereal to 24 hour news fosters an expectation for obtaining what you want right now without the payment of effort or time. We are an impatient generation. It amazes me that walking through the isles of an art store there are so many examples of "instant" creativity. Kits that take away the process(where the learning is) in order to "make" something that looks good and be able to say that you made it.

That makes me crazy.

The noble value of apprenticing or learning a craft or a skill has somehow been replaced with the idea that everyone can do everything. Which leads me to my next point...

2. Embracing the process is as important as seeking the finish line.
I like closure. I really do. But there is something very special that is gained when forced to live the process.


There are insights, and knowledge found inside the process of any undertaking that are not found in the "instant". Sometimes we discover our limitations, but I think more often we discover what we CAN do and build character qualities along with skill. Things like patience and endurance.

3. Recognizing that failure isn't failure.
We all know the quotes from various folk, inventors and such that refer to failures or mistakes as steps toward success. And it is true. The problem is we like the quotes but we don't like to do the work. In this grand process we have had many of what I like to call "roadblocks". Someone might call them failures, but when they are added up and the dust clears the finished product will look like a success.

4. Nothing stays perfect/everything changes.
When you finish something you kind of want it to stay exactly the way you finished it(at least I do) but I have learned that reality has things ever moving, changing, sometimes degrading. The change in seasons for instance can do a number on something that was newly built last season, but without the changes you wouldn't be able to grow a garden. So being able to accept what doesn't stay perfect while enjoying and channeling the benefits of change is something I have recently taken to heart. An example is a Wisteria stalk that I stuck in the ground near our fence three years ago. Today I am training it to cascade across the front of our deck and into an arched arbor. I anticipate what it will look like next year when in its tree-like state, it finally blooms.


As we move along with our projects, things that I longed to be finished to the point of frustration look more like opportunities for growth now. Setting aside some of my need for closure (notice I said "some") I have been able to live a little more in the moment and seek those benefits in the process, and maybe even feel good about them.

At least that is how I feel today ;-)

Here is Bryan grinding the old finish off of the metal handrail that we will put back in place to finish the wall. The entire fence goes around the pool and is probably fifty years old.



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This page contains a single entry by Blair published on July 27, 2008 6:11 PM.

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