That’s a phrase every parent has dreaded at one time or another (especially at 4:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve as the bicycle lies strewn in uncooperative pieces on the floor). Lately that phrase has run through my mind as I construct my new life here in Midland. From the metaphorical (assembling new relationships with congregants and a new town) to the literal (a desk, three bookcases, an office chair, and a still-not-quite-functional filing cabinet) my life lies in pieces on the workbench waiting for Geppetto to assemble the puppet who would be a boy. I’ve put together quite the collection of Allen wrenches and instruction manuals.
As much as I like to receive packages, I am beginning to yearn for some end to the chaos. Something in me wants at least one room in my life to be finished. Just once, I want to look around me and be satisfied. As one of my favorite movie bad guys once said, “When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
The real problem, though, is believing in the illusion of completion. There really is no such thing as being finished with anything. Just as the elements that comprise our universe are in a constant state of flux, so our lives consist of an endless stream of shifts and changes. I suppose if I ever got everything that I think I want, I would immediately identify some new desire or place for improvement. I’ve come to believe that enlightenment is not a stagnant state of serenity and wholeness, but rather an attitude that nothing is permanent and that no current state of anything really matters at all.
In the meantime, I’ve got piles of unsorted books beckoning for my attention, a sad recliner due to fall apart suddenly as I sit to watch the next episode of Hell’s Kitchen, and a garage full of shipping boxes awaiting the next “heavy item” garbage pick up day. Until I achieve a transcendent state, I will seek that balance between the nirvana of the perfect home and a disorganized and unmanageable hovel. And I will continue to embrace the many opportunities before me to assemble my life.