Friday, October 30, 2009

Conversion is like a kitchen remodel

By Deacon John DeGano
St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside

Not so long ago, my wife, Cheryl, decided it was time to remodel the kitchen pantry. We had discussed it to death, but neither one of us in our hectic schedule had set a date for when it would begin.

We start tomorrow, she said. And you have until the Thursday after next to finish.

What? I asked, a bit incredulous. My mind raced through the calendar, hoping to see some miracle date when the planets would align and all would come together. I found none.

Why Thursday? I asked.

And, in that practical, matter-of-fact voice that can sometimes make one nuts, she said, “I’ve made arrangements for a maid service to come in and clean up after you. All the can goods, etc., need to be back in place before they arrive.”

I chuckled. Sounded logical to me, only we had never sat down and drawn up plans for what we wanted the new pantry to look like. I beamed up the internet and proceeded to educate myself on all things pantry.

It took a couple of days to finalize a tentative design, which changed and was tweaked as the work progressed until finally, a couple of days before the invasion, Cheryl looked at the progress I had made and cut me some slack.

“I’ll postpone the house cleaners,” she said. “I don’t want to put a lot of undue pressure on you…”

With an inner sigh, I nodded. We had about half of the job completed. Pretty good progress considering we had been working in the evenings and a couple of hours over the weekend.

At long last sanity ruled and thinking of our neighbors’ eardrums (and the police helicopter) when we fired up the circular saw in our backyard at 10 p.m., I had to agree with her prognosis and diagnosis.

In the light of day, it is better to do the job right and be happy with it than to rush and make mistakes.

I wistfully thought of how much I love Cheryl and felt solidarity for the family friends who are in the same kitchen remodeling mode. They’ve already been three or four weeks in can good and kitchen appliance disarray.

I thought I was getting off pretty easy. Only, the conversation did not end there. The next morning as we got in the car to go to work, the words every husband (and some wives) dreads came out of her mouth.

“Besides, I notice that the 1) carpet is getting old, 2) the kitchen flooring needs replacement – wood or tile? I can’t make up my mind, 3) the cabinets need something… Refacing? I don’t think I want to paint them. What do you think?”

I zoned out.

And then I thought… (conversion works a lot like home improvement projects).

You think you’ll replace a knob on a kitchen drawer and the next thing you know Jesus has you in diaconate formation!

Well, okay. Maybe that’s a stretch.

Conversion is a life-long project. It happens slowly, one project at a time (sort of like building the Winchester Mystery House). Never-ending.

But oh, what an adventure that relationship with God can be… The places you will go, the staircases you will climb! And if you are fortunate, the people you will meet and the lifelong friendships you will make.

Conversion only seems scary before you start. Once you begin by allowing God into your heart, you’ll soon come to realize, it is just a natural part of life.

A blessed life in Jesus Christ.

I hope your remodeling goes smoothly.

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