Imagine building a sand castle.
You’ve scouted out the perfect spot, and you’ve built something you’re proud of. Maybe it took you all morning, even. Sure, it’s not an empire, and maybe it doesn’t have the exquisite technique of those who build castles for a living. But it does have a deep moat along the perimeter and a charming pinwheel on top.
And then the tide comes in, washing away half of your foundation in one big wave that you just didn’t see coming. Cause sometimes waves are bigger than you think and you can’t be far enough away and you can’t keep your eyes open for everything, and it sneaks right up and sweeps away with destruction.
So you spend the afternoon trying to rebuild the half that has been destroyed. You try to find the symmetry you had before, the angles and lines, the personality of the morning’s work.
It just can’t be done. The consistency of the sand has changed with the tide. The wind is different and unfamiliar. You can’t recreate what you’ve made. You just can’t fix it.
So you pick up all your sand toys, and you move about fifty yards down the shore, further away from the water. You can’t be sure you’re safe from the waves, because the ocean is a fearful thing and one can never be too sure. But you make the wisest decisions you can, based on the information and experience you have.
You begin again. Starting over, from sand up.
Your castle is quite a bit like the one before, with the same buckets and shovels. You don’t bother with the moat this time, since decisions made in fear are facades of protection that only keep people from getting close to you.
When it’s all finished, you place your sparkling pinwheel at its highest point. And for a while, you don’t feel the need to stroll the beach aimlessly or admire other castles or chase down a margarita with salt. It just feels so good to be where you are.
The courage to rebuild, to begin again, to start anew with what you’ve had all along, empowers you beyond sand castles. You find yourself taking longer walks to greater distances, putting your toes in the water, trying new things – or even old things that had frightened you for a season or two.
You discover that the creating has set you free in so many ways – not just in the sand, but in the water too.
That’s how I feel in my new home.
I didn’t realize how much oppression I lived beneath, confined to living in a broken space that could never again be what it was.
I didn’t realize how much the boys and I avoided being at home.
I was trying to fix what was broken, but really I needed to choose a new spot and begin again.
The creating has set me free – not just in my home, but in the world, too.