A little over a year ago, we received a notice from the city saying our quiet dead-end street was on the list to be made new in all significant ways. City By the Sea comes in and re-does everything under the street, then re-paves. They never got around to us last year, but over the weekend, the No Parking signs appeared taped to our lovely maple trees, and while yesterday was a washout due to rain, early this morning the crews arrived and the work began.
Water, sewer and gas lines will be replaced, so there is a lot of digging ahead.
Part of living an examined, reflective life is doing just this kind of digging and examining and re-laying. I’m watching the Search Committee and other leaders at Main Street Church engage just such a process in this interim time, looking beneath the surface to see what needs addressing. Last night we had a lively discussion about conflict and past difficulties and how they ought or ought not inform the search for a new pastor. There is a difference between knowing what troubled you last year or ten years ago or twenty years ago and being troubled by it now. We need awareness, not stuckness or, worse yet, denial.
Our street, though charming, has been in need of this paving job for quite a few years. When it is all over, it will have been worth the trouble. We’ll know where we were and where we have arrived and what had to happen to get us there, too. We won’t want to be defined by the the old-fashioned terracotta water pipes that allowed roots to grow through, but we can be informed by them, learning new ways to get the water we need in our homes and not insisting that the old ways were the only ones we could possibly tolerate.
What is happening on my street can reflect the inner landscape, too. Old ways of being need not rule us, need not rule me. Suppose I were to go beyond the digging phase, the one that always seems to interest me most, and actually replace the old with some new materials? Instead of digging and making a stopgap repair, as I have so often done, a repair covered over with hot top? Suppose I actually changed on the inside, as my street will be remade this summer?