Thursday, March 31, 2005

"I Fear Change"

On Today's Menu:
CLOSED for Renovations!

We have been a two-bathroom family "forever." This week, we are shower nomads, going to some friends' house to shower every night. I have never been out so much with wet hair and no make-up. The Teenage Drama Queen runs to the car, and says things like, "Oh, I hope no one I know drives by."

It took the contractor and his assistant less than an hour to gut our whole bathroom on Monday morning. I can't wait to see the end of this project. For nearly seven years, we've lived with a Pepto-Bismol pink tiled bathroom. Thank goodness they stopped the pink tiles halfway up the wall, or I would have really been nauseated every time I took a shower. The giant clunky vanity with drawers (pink, of course) might have been hip in its time. That time came and went about 20 years ago. I won't even get into the ugly tan shower surround.

Back to the contractor. After he tore up the linoleum--another feature I won't talk about--he realized how rotten the floor was. And, worst of all, someone in their not-so-infinite wisdom had cut out a floor joist years ago when they installed the drain line for the toilet. No wonder the floor kind of sagged a little in that part of the bathroom.

"This'll set us back an extra day." And, cha-ching, cost us more, of course. I had lain awake Sunday night wondering exactly how bad the bathroom floor was under all that linoleum glory. Now I knew. We couldn't just plunk down a new plywood floor, nice sturdy concrete board, and then lay our gorgeous slate tile floor. Underneath there would be nothing to hold up the beautiful new surface. So the contractor and his assistant spent most of a day building a new joist and putting a new beam in for under the floor. Now a 250-pound man can jump up and down on the floor and not get a trampoline sensation under his feet. It wasn't that bad before, but I'm horrified to realize how unstable the floor was.

Those of you who like analogies probably see where I'm going with this. Our contractor hasn't taken any shortcuts. In fact, he's a stickler for detail. I ought to know. I've never seen a tiled shower area go up so slowly. (Why does it look so fast and simple on HGTV?) But it's nice to hear him say, "Sweeeet!" when the tile cooperates, and not the crash of ceramic and, "Oh, no!"

I had closed my eyes to the pink tile, the clunky vanity, the icky linoleum, the shabby surround. Once you're used to something, it's easy to ignore. Our bathroom has served us well. There are some people who don't have bathrooms. So it's rough around the edges. Okay, going down the tubes--but I'll cut out the cliches.

We get comfortable in our same-old, same-old, possibly dangerous, often outdated, worn-out, rotten underneath, you-name-it stuff. Why make the change? I've wanted a new bathroom for ages. So my husband and I planned, dreamed, sketched, measured, and bought things here and there, storing them up in the hopes of maybe one day making that dream bathroom something real. Yet that still wasn't enough.

When our situation allowed, we called the contractor, got the estimate, counted the cost. We realized we'd be without our main bathroom for a week. In my mind, that's a small inconvenience. But we had to get to the point where we were prepared to see this project through to the end. We counted the cost. We knew it wouldn't be easy. We weren't happy at the extra cost.

Making changes in our lives is no easier. We can blind ourselves to what needs fixing or what is plain worn out. "Don't touch that, God, it's too much." Or, we could be like some friends of mine who tore up their bathroom themselves and seven years later it's still in a shambles. Really! Trusting can be difficult sometimes. Just remember:

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. (The Bible, Philippians 1:6)

That's what I love about God's contracting projects. He doesn't make it impossible. We never were promised ease, but peace. Even when the floor's ripped up and someone tore out the joist.

Bye, bye pink tiles! And on to that flourishing finish!

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