One of the best things about living out in the country is the view. Just behind my house lies a sea of rolling hills dotted with little patches of woods. Cattle low in the distance and all manner of wildlife make daily appearances.
But when I stood in my kitchen, I saw none of it.
Every day while cooking, cleaning, and serving the kids from my kitchen perch, I’d stare wistfully at the bank of cabinets along the south wall and imagine a window. I’d picture how light would flood the kitchen. I dreamed of standing with my coffee and gazing outside to watch the kids play, the horses graze, and the cats frolic.
Perhaps I oversold myself on how whimsically life would play out in front of me through my dream window. At least my husband thought so. He couldn’t understand my insistence on taking out a perfectly fine bank of cabinets in order to stare out back at our poodle tied to the tree.
After three years of drippy faucet nagging, coupled with my growing vision for all the other ways our kitchen could use an update, the hubs finally acquiesced. I suspect he figured the sooner we started the window project, the fewer ideas for other “improvements” I could come up with. Once I started talking about how maybe we should bump out the whole wall, he quickly hired a contractor.
The day the demo began, I was giddy. It was finally happening. The window I’d wanted since the day I moved into this place was becoming a reality. The cabinets came down. The soffets came down. I was thrilled.
But as the project progressed, the novelty wore off. I grew tired of running up and down to the basement for everything from a potato chip to a pan. I was annoyed with the dust and the hammering and the construction team blasting country music. I was sick of kids underfoot and small talk with the crew and messes everywhere I looked.
I started getting impatient with the fits and starts nature of the project. Waiting for the electrician to do his part. Waiting for the framer to come. Waiting for the drywall guy to come patch the holes. Being tied to the house all the time waiting for the crew to show up.
It was easy to forget how grateful I was to begin.
I am not the first or the last person who quickly moves from excitement to exasperation with a project. Sometimes its almost impressive how quickly we can move from gratitude to grumbling. Even in the midst of being given a wonderful gift, we can become blind to the goodness unfolding right in front of us.
I think of the Israelites who were promised freedom and a land flowing with milk and honey. And even as they were being led out of slavery they soon forgot the promise and began grumbling.
Here I found myself repeating the pattern. Ouch. What a brat.
The Bible teaches to take our thoughts captive. And I find that they best way to dig myself out of an attitude slump is to apply this truth found in Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Once I realized what was happening to my attitude, I had to make a conscious choice to turn it around before I drove myself and my family crazy with crankiness.
A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil. Proverbs 13:19
The day the window was installed I stood in my kitchen in awe. It certainly was sweet to my soul to see the light pouring in. My eyes swept the yard and the first thing I saw was our buffoon of a dog tied to the tree. But I also watched the kids chasing each other. The horses rolling. The fields surrounded by exquisite fall colors. It was everything I’d hoped for and more.
The second part of Proverbs 13:19 reminds me, “fools detest turning from evil.” So while the drywall isn’t up, the range hood is still sitting in the box in the living room and we are still running up and down the stairs for all of our kitchen supplies, I refuse to let myself go down the path of negativity again.
I know the finished product will be worth the wait. And meanwhile, I will stand here sipping coffee and looking out my new window. I’ll keep reminding myself how grateful I am for the good gift I’ve been given. So much so, that I promised my husband I would not ask for one more house project. This week.