I am having a pond company completely remodel the ponds in my backyard because there were so many things falling apart that I'm better off replacing it all with a newer, less labor-intensive set up than fixing the old one. They started work this morning as I left for work.
As with most projects of this nature, the process starts with taking apart and removing the old before the new can be put into place. When I left this morning, my backyard was a tranquil and beautiful space filled with water and plants. I came home to what looks like a bombed out mess.
The water has been drained, the plants are ripped out, rock walls have been demolished, one tree has been cut down, and the building that contained the filter system is gone. It's an ugly gash across back yard where beauty once reigned.
Of course, tomorrow will begin the process of re-building the new design with the final touches being put in on Friday, with new waterfalls, new pumps, new shrubs, rebuilt stone walls, plants put back in the dirt, and water flowing once again. I know it's going to be worth it, but in this moment, I am grieving the loss of what was while I wait for what is not yet here.
Isn't that how change always works? For every new beginning, there is always an ending of some kind.
I think that's why I am so fond of metaphors involving death and re-birth. From the "death" of the caterpillar in the chrysalis making way for re-birth as a butterfly, to the "death" of a whole pot through breakage that precedes the re-birth of the pot as a work of kintsugi art, to the death of a seed in the dirt for the re-birth of new plants to spring forth, to the seeming death of Winter making way for the re-birth of life in the Spring—each of these metaphors helps to sustain me through those periods when some part of my life needs to die in order to make space for the re-birth of something new.
I find such comfort in collecting new examples to store away for when I next need them to remind me that death is not the end. Perhaps that is why I can't entirely walk away from Christianity. It has a powerful story of death and re-birth at its core. It speaks the language that is familiar and comforting to my soul.
The death and re-birth of the pond system in my backyard is one that will happen relatively quickly and painlessly for me (if you don't count the pain of the price tag!), but it's one more example of this process for me to tuck away in my heart for when I am next in need of it. In the meantime, my previous experiences have taught me enough about the re-birth that comes after death to keep this bout of sadness in perspective.
What metaphors or themes re-appear over and over again in your life? Are there particular images that you find comforting?
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