I have this house…. well, have you seen the classic 1986 film the “Money Pit“? In the ten years we have lived in this house, it has been a constant construction project. I like to think of it like God sees me, “a work in progress.” I am a hot mess, my house is a hot mess. It is the way it is. me and the house just “fit.”
One of the things that we have left to get done is trim work. Trim work is not only tedious, but it is costly. With a house full of kids and a husband who church plants, the money usually goes to things OTHER than trim work. God has graciously provided doors an windows, but I do not think he sees trim work as a NEED. Which it truly isn’t.
Last year for Christmas, when my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said TRIM. My Uncle Roc volunteered to install it all and a Christmas gift was born. I dare say it is one of the best Christmas presents that I have EVER gotten. My entire great room and hall and little bathroom was beautifully trimmed and I LOVED IT! I can still be found sitting in my big room staring at it and thinking, ” Oh I love this!”
Fast forward nine months, and my dad installed a new window in our kitchen. This was the last window to be replaced and we were thrilled to have it FINALLY done. He wanted to get it done before he had his rotator cuff surgery the next week.
The next Tuesday I spent most of the day at the surgery center. I sat with my mom, my aunt Louise, my uncle Roc, and Kathy. We chatted the entire time. We talked about everyone’s big plans. My aunt and uncle were going to be attending my uncles FIFTIETH high school reunion that Friday night, and my uncle was SO excited. My uncle and I made plans for my house. We made a plan of attack that would complete the missing trim work in my house. He said he would come over next week and do the kitchen trim, and them we would start on the last rooms, our bedroom and bath. He said that his knees were giving him fits, but if he took it slowly he couldn’t wait to see it done. He enjoyed the detail work, and he loved the finished product. We had PLANS.
Friday night, my aunt and Uncle happily went to his reunion. He loved every minute of it, and by ten o’clock that night he was dead. He suffered a massive heart attack. We were all in total shock. The next few days were a blur, as the days after a loved one’s death so often are. You operate on auto-pilot, and you do what you have to do.
It took several weeks, but one day I was washing dishes in my kitchen, and I looked at my unfinished window. It all came crashing down. Stupid trim.
A few weeks ago, we had to tear out our master bathroom. We had a major leak under the toilet, and we had damage through the sub floor. My husband had Peter come do the demolition, and Peter put it back together. The tile looked nice, and I the new paint looked great, but it needed trim.
I bought the trim. I painted the trim. I stared at the trim. I did not think I could do it. I know the mechanics of hanging trim. I KNEW I could do it, but it was haunting me. If I hung the trim, it was acknowledgment that Roc was not here to hang it for me.
I know it sounds amazingly silly to think that I still was unwilling to acknowledge that my uncle who died in September was not coming back, but I did not want to. If I did not hang the trim, he would eventually come hang it…
I looked at it for a couple days before I convinced myself it was time to put on my big girl panties and just do it. It took me nearly a day to do it, and there really was very little to do. It is a small bathroom. But, I may KNOW how to do it, it doesn’t mean that I am fast or good at it. I took my time and worked slowly and carefully, and I finished my task.
I was exhausted. I was not exhausted physically; I was exhausted mentally. I think a shrink would have a field day with me. I am a mess. How could so many emotions be tied up in some stupid trim work? When I finished and looked at my finished product, I sat down on the bathroom floor and cried. I cried about loss, and I cried about moving on. I just cried.
The same thing happened to me months after my grandma died. I did okay, until I pulled out the knife she brought over to help cut green beans from my garden. I have good knives, but she insisted on this old paring knife with a broken tip. I found it in my drawer one day and fell apart. My kids thought I was losing it.
I am so thankful for the time that my aunt and uncle have lived near us. My kids have loved and been loved on by them, and so have I.
I think that we so often take the gift of family for granted. We get irritated by their idiosyncrasies and are less tolerant because we assume that they will just be there forever. Well, they are not. Life is temporal, and we must cherish each day. Family is so important, and I pray I do not ever take it for granted. Family is a gift. If I ever need that reminder, I am going to just look at my trim.