You've been hearing about the Office Renovation from Hell for a long time. Some of you may even believe it hasn't even begun yet. I assure you, if you could see the trail of extension cords, tools, and furniture strewn from the office door, down the hall, in to Sarahs office and in to the guest room you'd believe that it is, indeed, in progress.
I admit that, for a time, the work languished. Work has been insane. Hunting season began. Cars and bikes needed work. My health has not been the best and it has worn me out. I sat in this room for many weeks without taking a single measurement or lifting a single paint brush. A few weeks ago Sarah decided to encourage me. No, I'm not applying a euphemism for "nag", I really mean encouraged. Sarah doesn't nag. She just convinces me how much happier I'd be if I were finished. She reminds me that I really do enjoy the work. She knows me well enough to understand that regardless of how cerebral I am I still love working with my hands.
A week ago I started driving hard at it again. The walls are no longer blank. The custom built shelves are now up. The deer head (of course there's a deer head!) is proudly mounted. Two thirds of the furniture is back in place. All but one sheet of the tongue and groove AX plywood is up and more than half the chair rail and baseboard are back in. The old filing cabinet and T.V. stand are gone, replaced by a lateral filing cabinet and a fully custom made ceiling suspended television shelf that are an hour from completion. Sarahs super comfortable chair and hassock are right back where they belong. Well, I call it a chair but it's big enough to be a small couch.
At eleven o'clock last night I found myself kneeling on the floor screwing in some of the T&G, sweating, swearing, and sore. One screw was giving me fits and I tossed the drill down and looked behind me at the finished half...and all the frustration faded. I collapsed in to my chair and just...stared. I could remember every screw, every nail, every cut of every board. I could remember every word my wife had used to show me the reasons I need to finish. I realized I'd done something to make my wife proud.
Then I realized the similarity between my office and my marriage.
Building a marriage is a lot like building an office.
Instead of nails and screws substitute decisions and challenges.
Think of those shelves as compromise, where you put both your ideas and come up with one good look.
Think of the deer head as...well, no, that's just a deer head.
Then factor in the new filing cabinet and desk, like the constant learning curve a marriage required to organize work, family, and a healthy home life.
There are times it's difficult. We have the unique pleasure of not only living but working together, so our construction technique must be extremely durable. We work long hours, so sometimes the work grinds to a halt. We just sit back in the chaos, look at each other through the mess, and know we need to just close our eyes and rest. Once we catch our breath we drive forward again.
The only real difference is that a good marriage is the construction job that never ends. The moment you think you're done, it's over. It's why so many marriages fail today. Young people think that once the marriage license is signed and the joint bank accounts are set up the work is over. When they realize it's just beginning, that the work never stops, they quit. We work every day...to learn, to understand, and to grow together. It's the kind of work that pays daily. In a look. In a laugh. In a smile.
Yes, like any home remodel it can be a royal pain in the ass, too, but the end result is always worth the work.
So this Thanksgiving I'll be thankful my office is finished.
And that thanks to a lot of constant work our life has just begun.