Under Construction (still)

I saw it in a dream

Sometimes I have dreams that end up coming true. I don’t know how my brain predicts what is going to happen, but sometimes it plugs into the future just a little bit. Maybe it’s God’s way of helping prepare me for what comes next. This is very, very compassionate on His part since I’m often in a muddle about what comes next. Not only in the big scheme of things, although I’m definitely in a muddle there. But also in the little day-to-day tasks, like where I need to put my energy next. Because of my brain injury I get all turned around and upside down and have to wrangle myself to get back on track. Over and over again daily. Phew!

Anyhow, two nights ago I had a dream. We’ve been investigating a wet smell in our kitchen and were wondering if the fridge was leaking. I went down in the basement and poked at the ceiling below where I thought the fridge was, but the ceiling seemed dry. Then, in my dream, I saw that the ceiling was damp, that water was seeping through. I woke up and told my dad about it and he said he hoped it didn’t come true. I hoped the same thing.

Welp, last night, as I was coming upstairs from the basement, I looked at the ceiling and saw a paint bubble that was filled with water! I ran to the office and said, “Dad, my dream came true!”

We have to fix it. Again?

The number of problems our house has endured in the past 3 years is truly comical. Just about a month ago we just repaired a large section of our basement wall that leaked because the brick masonry outside was cracked. Turns out, if they hadn’t opened up the wall, we never would have known we had a termite infestation that was the worst our termite guy had seen. When he was here, I jokingly said, “This probably isn’t the worst you’ve ever seen.” I was so wrong.

In 2015, the first year of my recovery, we were having a lot of work done on the house. As I lay in bed in constant pain day after day, the handymen painted and pounded. They renovated a laundry room, built a storage room on the back of our house, and reconstructed the deck over the new room. Unfortunately, those guys didn’t do a sound job, and later we found leaks in both rooms they had done. That dry wall had to be completely cut out. The deck had to be entirely reconstructed! We finally finished that process this year. Is that possible? Honestly, the timeline feels so fuzzy. It goes in and out of comprehensible moments of time.

Love Thy Neighbor (even when they build a house next door while you’re confined to your bed)

After the first round of renovations to our house was finished, and before the disastrous need to replace most of the work they had just done, our neighbors built an enormous addition on the other side of my bedroom wall about 11 feet away. In 2016 and into 2017, they built this massive house. I was still in bed most of the time in 2016, and their workers would often arrive at 7:30 in the morning, after I had barely been asleep for 4 hours. Our house is a midcentury ranch style home with not much insulation, and so I could hear everything. My hearing was extremely sensitive to loud noises and banging. My ears rang all the time, and I had constant migraines.

This cacophony of activity meant that my nervous system could never calm down. It was always being alarmed by something I was hearing or smelling. My bedroom and an adjacent room were essentially my hospital rooms. And imagine if your hospital room were in a construction zone. That’s what it was. It was extremely disturbing.

Back to the Future

Finding that bubble, as much as I try to laugh it off, really triggered some intense PTSD emotions today. I don’t really believe God jokes with us in the mean way some people tend to depict him doing. “Oh, God has such a sense of humor that he gave me this thing I hate dealing with again. Isn’t that funny?” That was my initial response to this. “Ha, ha, God. More renovations. Isn’t it all so symbolic of this transformation I’m going through? Kind of on the nose, don’t you think?”

Laugh. Sob.

I don’t think I like thinking of it that way. It’s been a huge trial for me and my family. Like, when will we get to stop spending all this energy on fixing when we could just be healing? All this housework made an already hard recovery so much harder than it really needed to be. Laughably harder. It would have been hard enough in complete peace and tranquility. God’s really not trying to make this more difficult. I think he weeps with me and wants me to be happy.

Yet, I do believe all the renovations going on are part of a healing process. You must mend what is broken to have a strong foundation. It doesn’t do anyone any good to keep going along with leaks or cracks or weaknesses acting like everything is fine. Looking problems in the eye and responding actively and swiftly is a skill set I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life (and I suspect there are other issues in my near future that are going to require this kind of swift attention).

Look at me, trying to make this a feel-good object lesson (I think it definitely deserves to be one). What I really want to do is cry for the thousandth time.

Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

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