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Construction Is Always a Process

This photograph might make many of us cringe. Its title, according to its source (, is "Deforestation." For all who love nature and desire more than anything to preserve it, the removing of trees by a big blue machine borders on tragic. Yet others may see in this picture something many of us adore: progress. Obviously, the trees are being moved out of the way for something else. The clearing might even be in service to new plantings or to new natural growth.

In many respects, this photograph is a portrait of all life. Like the snake which sheds its skin, among many living creatures that which is no longer useful, beneficial, and constructive is released or cast aside or replaced so that something else may grow, be gained, and be developed for the good of the creature. Human beings, for instance, may seek professional guidance through counseling or therapy so that constrictive, destructive patterns of behavior might be identified, modified, and even set aside. This deconstruction is not easy and certainly is not painless. Yet through the process, a person may discover greater health, deeper peace, and richer satisfaction in living. Whereas health previously had no place to grow, peace no space in which to be sown, and satisfaction no opportunity to flourish, the excavation and removal of the inhibiting factors make something new possible.

Life can be thought of as one glorious construction project. Whether we are in the process of deconstructing or of reconstructing, at the core some work is taking place. Some building is underway. The material we work with may be discovered within ourselves or might be received as gifts from others around us. But moment by moment, day to day, the whole deal is dynamic. In his book Everything Is Spiritual, Rob Bell describes the phases or seasons we go through in life as "forms," saying that "those forms work until they can no longer contain the new thing that is happening in you, the new expansion that doesn't fit in the current form. The same form that can be liberating and challenging and new and exciting can become over time limiting and stifling and conflicting. A form helps, until it doesn't. It liberates, until it confines. The problem may not be the form, the problem may be looking to the form to continue to give you what it could only give you for that stage. That chapter, Taht time. That period of your life."

We tend to hang on. Cling to what we think we know. Stay in place where we're comfortable. Hunker down around what and who are familiar. But being alive means both deconstructing and reconstructing with great regularity. An examined life is an expanding life. And the materials utilized along the way will certainly come into play in determining the nature and purpose of our glorious construction project - what and whom on earth it is for.

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