Foundation, Foundation, Foundation

by Michelle Jereb

For months, and I mean months, I have driven by the same construction site.  First I watched them demolish a very large structure --- that took a while, but nothing compared to the length of time it was taken to build the foundation.  Dirt, Dirt, Dirt.  How much can you do with dirt?  Move it around, pack it, stack it, grade it, water it.  I was feeling for those doing this construction work.  They had to be so bored.  I know I have been bored watching nothing but that DIRT.  I mean, come on…showing up every day to dirt moving, dirt packing, dirt stacking, dirt watering.  Not only is it boring, it’s “dirty”, dusty and messy.  To further add to my boredom and I will call it impatience, there was no sign anywhere letting the public (me) know what was being built.  

This experience has made me think of my own impatience and boredom in my spiritual life.  A firm foundation is essential to a new highrise apartment complex (yes they finally let us know what they were building) and to my spiritual life.  The higher the construction the firmer the foundation must be, or the building will collapse from the weight.  Well the same is true for me spiritually.  I must first be willing to build the foundation of whatever is being created in me.

Foundation building, dirt construction is NOT sexy; it is the same view every day.  I find that I want to be amused, and dare I say entertained (ugh)  --- dirt is not exciting.  Or at least that is what I tell myself.  My ego wants to create/build something, not just sit with dirt.  BUT wait a minute, dirt is awesome!  I am sure that is what those construction workers would have told me if I had stopped and inquired about their work.  They would have told me without their dedication to the work of foundation building, those who would come later to build the apartment complex would have nothing to build on.  Their work IS the work, the essential work.  

The same is true for the spiritual life.  Foundation building IS the work.  Without the daily building of what brings stability to your life, whatever you try to create on top of it will crumble.  So what brings sure footing to your spiritual walk?  What is the dirt you need beneath your feet?  Daily prayer, meditation, contemplation, community, silence, solitude, walking, time in nature, creativity, exercise, reading/study, fill in the blank.  I can tell when I neglect these foundational items in my life, I feel very unstable and whatever I am trying to build/create feels very fragile and in danger of falling apart.  

Now back to that construction site.  Once the foundation was laid, the apartment buildings have sprung up seemingly out of nowhere.  The firm foundation enabled their creation to bloom.  Now for a little secret, yes it has been fun to see the buildings grow more and more each time I drive by, but I miss the dirt.  Yes, I miss the dirt.  There, I said it.  I didn’t think I would, but I do.  The dirt was actually fascinating, because there was a mystery to it.  The same is true for me spiritually.  I love creating, but I long for the daily mysterious dirt of stability.