It was after 4:00, and I was grudgingly rushing back to work to meet with a family member at the nursing home. I was focusing on the construction sight at the end of the road, and almost missed my turn.
I had one of those dissociative thoughts as I made my turn, that I had narrowly missed driving into destruction. It could be a metaphor for life- that by focusing on all the negative circumstances in life, you inevitably drive your life right into negativity and destruction.
Then it occurred to me that it was not called a destruction site. It was a construction site. Even though it looks like a complete mess, each machine, hole, orange sign, and pile of dirt serves a purpose. In time, what now looks like a confused eyesore will be a safer traffic flow pattern with brand new asphalt and signs.
Sometimes the roads of life need fixed, too. Too many of us continue down the same paths we’ve always known, and don’t realize they’re filled with potholes until we lose a hubcap or get a flat tire. Then we’re stuck. Sometimes we can patch up the road, and it’s still workable. Other times, there needs to be a complete overhaul.
Constructions sites with their accompanying one-lane traffic, detours, and noise, are quite a nuisance. We question whether changes are really necessary. We wonder how long it’s going to take. We wonder if it’s all worth it.
Sometimes our lives have to go through construction or re-construction. It’s never easy. But at some point we have to decide which is worse, the pot-hole filled road which could cause some serous damage, or temporary chaos that will eventually lead to a smoother road.
M. Scott Peck talks about something called pseudo-community in his book, “The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace.” The inhabitants don’t quite tell each other the whole truth, and continue to tolerate, accommodate, and overlook unspoken issues, in an attempt maintain the illusion of a community.
According to Bill Hybels in his book, "Axiom," real community can’t take place until you face your fear and deal with the unspoken issues. Chances are the other person or people are just as uncomfortable faking it. But until someone has the guts to say that “this isn’t working; what went wrong?” then nothing will change.
Hybels calls this entering the tunnel of chaos, because working through issues between two people can be scary, messy, and downright ugly. But when both parties are committed to working it out, the end result is a stronger, truer relationship. We come out on the other end of the tunnel to brand new light.
So the next time you have to maneuver around a construction site, think about choosing one relationship in your life that could use a little work. And get ready to get messy!