Seven months ago today, my boyfriend Jim’s garage burned down, taking with it 70 percent of all he owned in the world.

Second only to the pain of personally losing something or someone we love is watching someone we care about lose something they love.

Conversely, the same is true when we witness their Phoenix moment, when they rise above the loss.

Some people – including me – wondered if Jim would sell his place and move away from the memory of that night in February. But he meant what he said when the fire still smoldered: “I’ll rebuild.”

I bought this bracelet yesterday:

When I saw it, it struck me that for awhile now I’ve been living in the future. “One day, when my knee doesn’t hurt anymore, I’ll ride a bike again.” “One day, when I say no to the white bread in a restaurant again, I’ll lose weight.” “One day, when I work out with hand weights again, my arms will have the definition they used to.” Envisioning an end goal without considering the journey is like Jim dreaming of one day having another barn. He can dream all he wants, but dreams don’t get things built.

Whether you’re rebuilding a barn or rebuilding your resolve to lose weight or start exercising…again…starting over takes a lot of courage. The work will take place in the shadow of what took away what you built in the first place. Will the same thing happen again?

Today, seven months after the fire, there is no sound more lovely than that of a backhoe hauling away ash and debris and digging a ditch for a water line. Soon enough, there will be a barn, of that I am certain. There could also be another fire, of which I’m not certain. But that’s the chance you take when you rebuild something you love.

Cooper inspects the site of the new barn.

10 thoughts on “Rebuilding

  1. Your insights in today's blog really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing and for your update about Jim's barn. I've been wondering how you are both doing.

  2. I'm glad, Deb. It took Jim awhile to work through his feelings after the fire (grief, sadness, anger, emptiness as in “Oh yeah…that was in the barn.” Rebuilding right after the fire wouldn't have been wise. Now he's totally ready and committed to the design he created. Oh, and the kittens are doing well, too!

  3. An inspiring post, Lynn. Life takes many twists and turns, and I guess it's good to be flexible. I know what you mean about living in the future. I did that for way too many years, waiting for the day I would lose weight and finally could be happy and feel worthy. In the process, I lost the present, with its joy of living. I think that most of us “rebuild” more than once in our lives.I appreciate being reminded that “it's the journey, not the destination.”

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