There is an office building not far from where I live that burned to the ground last spring. I drove past it as it was burning, and watched the flames and smoke billow into the sky for quite some time. All that was left was a low-wall of bricks and the occasional piece of siding, overshadowed by a black skeletal frame and burnt remains of what used to be.
Within a few months, though, you’d never know it had happened. It wasn’t long before charred beams were replaced by brand new construction — and in what seemed to be a matter of moments, the building stood as it once was. Just like that, damage was all but erased, and the town returned to having a conveniently located office complex to find mortgage and real estate services. Hooray.
If only life were like that — things fall apart, fire lays waste to your existence, yet there are happy little construction elves who can return you to normal without so much as a scar. I had hoped that my sabbatical from the daily grind would restore me to my optimal freshness. While I’ve had some great highlights from my time away, the one lesson I have learned is that the only elves that exist are those that are busy ensuring that Santa brings Vampboy the toys he asked for — or shooting Orcs in Middle Earth.
We are changed forever by our experiences, both good and bad. While our impulse when things go wrong is to try to return to the way things were, I’ve come to understand that it doesn’t work like that. Instead, the work is not to “rebuild”, but rather to construct something new out of what remains. It will never look the same, but hopefully it’ll be roomy and well-lit with plenty of storage space for better days.
I’ll be back with tales from my time away later this week, but thought I’d post to wish you all a happy New Year — this one is definitely better than the last one, so hopefully it’s only getting better from here.
It’s good to be back.