A congregation of the United Church of Canada
My house is chaos these days. We invited it. We have just begun a large-scale renovation of our kitchen and our ensuite bath. In for a penny, in for a pound (or several pounds, as the case may be). We have approximately two months of this chaos to look forward too, and then we get to enjoy our dream kitchen and bath for, hopefully, about 30 years! Will it be worth the current chaos? Of course! Does that make the current chaos less disruptive and chaotic? Of course not!
To get the space ready for demolition we had to clear out everything we wanted to keep. That means boxing up all our dishes, and glassware, and cookware, and, and, and. Then, because we’re also having the floors refinished, and we enjoy a wonderful open-concept house, we had to empty all the furniture out of all the connected rooms. Couches, chairs, buffet, dining room table, chairs, kitchen table, more chairs (I’m thinking maybe we have too many chairs?), plant stands, TV stand, oh, and the grand prize – our piano! Oof!
Since we don’t have the luxury of moving away for a couple of months (unless Faith United suddenly wants to give me another two months of holidays?), we have to continue to live in this chaos. That meant setting up a makeshift kitchen in our basement. A hot plate, a microwave, and a portable mini-oven make up our cooking arsenal. Then we get to walk our dishes up the stairs, through the whole house, and off to the laundry sink where our dish-doing station is set up. Did I mention it’s chaos? But as far as these things go, it’s a pretty nice makeshift setup. It’s fully functional, and it will allow us to do what we need to get done.
As I’m resting from the exertion of the mini-move, I’ve been thinking about other makeshift things in my life. Things that I put in place in a hurry to cover for a preferred thing that isn’t available at the moment. I had to record the video version of Noticings in a different place today. It’s because my usual spot is too noisy! My makeshift video recording place was my study at the church. Not ideal, but not bad. Another one that instantly sprang to mind was that pretty much all of ministry in the season of Covid was makeshift ministry. It wasn’t what we would have preferred, but we lovingly put something together, a makeshift temporary solution, and lived with it. And then the makeshift way went on and on. It was hard, but as I ponder I’m seeing all sorts of really good things that emerged – things that may not have happened under normal circumstances. Who knows, maybe my makeshift kitchen will bring gifts I can’t yet imagine too.
You might say that our faith journey is a makeshift thing. It’s certainly not a completed project, and it’s never currently what we would prefer it to be, because we always carry the yearning for more depth and more love. We put together the pieces of it in a given moment and do the best we can with it. Amid the chaos at home I’m sure we’ll make our makeshift kitchen better and better over time. So too with our faith life. I guess I’m saying that we can’t wait for the ideal thing before we get on with our life. And maybe the best thing about our makeshift ways is that we journey them together.