I love to build things.
By this I mean I love getting to live in the new reality, which I've first imagined in my mind, and then constructed in my life. For example, one of my fondest memories was an afternoon I spent in focused concentration in my townhome's basement, dimly lit from one lonely incandescent bulb suspended from wood beams and water pipes infested with cobwebs above me. I was perched on a metal folding chair, painted bright yellow with marks of dings and dents, chips and rust, surrounded by cement floors, walls and the boxes, baggage, and the general clutter of an unfinished basement.
It sounds pretty dismal, and I suppose it was. But my imagination was alive. I was figuring out the floor plan for our future. Where would the walls go? Where would the doors be? What kind of space did our growing family need?
I stared and stared in complete silence. Maybe for an hour or more, I never moved. I mentally rearranged until I could accommodate the various limitations: Small windows here. Central beam here. Plumbing roughed out here. Access to backyard here.
And then, we built it.
These transformed rooms have housed some remarkable experiences as our family and friends hang out, sing, talk about life, and develop creativity. It's not about the stuff—it's about living into the space.
Sometimes I build words on pages, sometimes I build experiences for individuals on a retreat, sometimes I build teams, and sometimes I build technology to support ministry. But whatever I do (and this, of course, always involves bringing in the true experts), I love to build. Often I don't have many of the skills needed to bring something of value into the world. (I can do unskilled painting and build mail-order bookshelves!) But I love seeing mere ideas, good ideas, come into reality.1