June 13

The Ditches Come First

June 13, 2016

Personal Growth

Imagine that you’ve built a house. It’s a nice house: plenty of room, nice furnishings, attractive landscaping, and more. After all that work, you want a drink of water and a shower. But you discover that the faucet in the sink produces no water, no water flows from the shower head, and none of the lights work.

This disturbs you, so you call me to come over and investigate. I confirm your experience and ask if you connected the faucet and shower head to pipes that ran to the city water distribution, if you connected the drains to the city sewer system, and if you connected your wiring to the main lines of the power company.

“No,” you say.

As ridiculous as this scenario might sound, it’s almost exactly what people do with their lives. They put a lot of work—a lifetime of work—into the walls, the windows, the furnishings, the garage, and more, but they forget the PURPOSE of all those things. We live in a house precisely to provide a safe, dry place where we can drink, bathe, use a toilet, and turn on our innumerable devices that consume electricity. The walls do little good if we can’t have a life within them.

For a house, we have to dig ditches for the placement of water lines, sewer pipes, and electrical conduit before we finish the foundation and walls. Ditches are not glamorous, they’re hard work to dig, and by themselves they don’t seem to do anything. But they’re necessary before we can accomplish other required tasks.

For a happy life, too, we have to do a great deal of ditch-digging before we can have the lives we want. We have to find love, trust love, eliminate unloving behaviors, and learn to share love with others before we can have relationships and be happy. We have to dig the ditches first.

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