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Ivonne J. Hernandez ponders on the messiness of building a life.

I have always loved visiting office supply stores. Browsing up and down aisles filled with brightly colored papers and plastic bins of every shape and size touched on a hidden desire of my heart, a desire for order. I bought into the idea that with the right combination of tools, perhaps my days could be organized, my thoughts filed in an orderly manner, easily grabbed at a moment's need.

Over the years, I've bought bins and binders, pens and markers, calendars and label makers, filing cabinets, and colored papers. As I look at the piles of papers and baskets on and around my desk today, I wonder … did any of it help? Or am I still the same disorganized mess I was before?

If I were going to write an autobiography, I would probably title it Work in Progress … Pardon My Dust. It seems like my life is constantly changing, and as soon as I adapt to a new phase, the phase is over, and it is time to start fresh again.

Whether it is with our marriage, homeschooling, health and exercise, home projects, or spiritual practices, sometimes it seems life is like laundry … the drudgery of life is never done. And, though there is truth in that statement, it is not quite the whole truth.

When you wash a load of laundry, fold it, put it away, and then wear it again, you do not create a new piece of clothing; you just take away the dirt that had accumulated on it. When you are building a life, you are always making something new.

Founding a monastery is a continuous process of sawing to build your design and trying to dispose of the sawdust while you're always being forced to reconstruct. You have to give it your all, and it's never done (St. Benedict).


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This experience of creating something new does not only apply to the lives we build or the monasteries monks establish. As temples of the Holy Spirit, we ourselves are works in progress … in the hands of God.

For we are God's co-workers; you are God's field, God's building. (1 Corinthians 3:9)


Each day, each interaction changes us; each day, we grow. So perhaps all this dust that so often drives me crazy is there to remind me of the work that has been done and should become an opportunity to give thanks to God.

Maybe rather than looking at the bins of unorganized papers, I should focus on the work that has been published. Perhaps rather than looking at another unopened calendar, I can remember the family activities we had and all that is yet to come.


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When you are building a life, you are always making something new. #catholicmom

Yes, I am still a disorganized mess, but, despite that, with God's help, I've accomplished much. So, let us remember what we are building -- what God is building with and through us -- and, rather than being discouraged by a bit of dust, let us keep going, persevering, always living in hope.

Copyright 2021 Ivonne J. Hernandez
Image: Canva Pro
This article is printed with permission and was first published at Elisheba Blog - ELISHEBA HOUSE