I’ve been thinking a lot lately about not just what I do, but how I do it.
Sometimes in life you have to take a stand.
What’s that old quote by Alex Hamilton (the journalist, not the guy in US history books)?
Many of us try to take a stand. You have to consider a few things.
- What do you believe?
- What is your goal?
- How do you best meet that goal?
Once you figure that stuff out, you need to decide who you’re going to be. Where does your belief system (character) take you?
I’m not a believer our answers to that question all need to be the same. You can be a person of good, strong character in many different forms. What a weird Stepford-wives world it would be if we all did life the same.
We all have different personalities and different outlooks on life. I find that to be a beautiful thing in this world, rather than abhorrent, as many do.
When you take a stand, you have a choice. You can build new, you can destroy, or you can renovate.
I live close to the historic district in my town. There are some gorgeous homes. There are some that could use a little love. There are some that have decayed almost beyond recognition.
Often someone would say to simply take a wrecking ball to those totally decayed houses. Get rid of it and build new. Honestly there have been times I have walked by and thought that was the only solution.
But then someone comes along and has vision. They see the beauty underneath. They feel the history. As they breathe in, instead of smelling musty, moldy air they smell lavender and promise.
They roll up their sleeves and get to work. Some things they need to destroy. They not only can’t be saved, but they will make their lives miserable if they keep them. They replace pipes and temperature control systems and things that don’t make sense to keep.
They lovingly restore other parts. They see floors that become beautiful with a lot of effort. They see arched four frames that may need some rotted wood replaced. They see old fireplaces that are unsafe and decide whether to replace them with gas logs or restore it to its wood burning glory.
They add new. New countertops. New appliances. A backyard arbor to which they add the most fragrant flowers.
It often takes years, but once restored you can feel nothing but awe. And thankfulness that someone cared to preserve the history and beauty that graced that space for many years.
I can promise you I’ll never restore a house. I have absolutely no skills and though I have some vision, I don’t have the mind that can take that vision into a reality. Still, in life, sometimes I get a chance to do it.
Sometimes I want to build new. I want to take an idea and come up with plans to make it come to fruition. I want to figure out what we need, plan how we get it done, and work to make it happen.
Sometimes I’m all for bringing in the wrecking ball. What was there was ugly and there is nothing worth saving.
But what I hope I do most is remodel. I hope I come in, assess the good, and figure out a way to change the bad. Renovation. Reconciliation. They often require the hardest work, but the most glorious outcomes.
Stand for something, but watch your stance. Do you look ready to shoot to kill, hit them when they’re down, or extend a hand and open your arms to them and help them?
We determine how we live our lives. We are the ones solely responsible for our character. Yes, you can yield that right to others, but in doing so you stand for nothing and just may, as the quote says, fall for anything.
Be better. Wherever you are now, just be better.