Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve

Incremental Progress

Five months ago, Alison and I woke up on a Saturday morning and headed into our front yard. Over the course of the day, we cut down over two dozen bushes. In the weeks that followed, we dug out stumps, repaired water lines that we damaged, ripped down shutters, repainted our front door, and leveled dirt.

Summer heat set in and our progress slowed. From the street, our home looked quite plain. The dead and overgrown bushes cluttered every garden bed. The rotten shutters fell apart as they hung. Digging out those bushes and pulling down the shutters was an improvement, but just the beginning.

Our work began again this past weekend. We built, painted, and hung new shutters. A tree trimmer has been hired to prune the huge oak tree that anchors our front yard and cut down the dead pecan tree that now stands on the corner of our lot. In the coming weeks, more improvements will be made. Dead, decaying, and broken things will be lovingly replaced with new materials and fresh paint. It will take months, but by this time next year, our home will look entirely different.

We are moving slowly, as life and other priorities require our attention, but each weekend, our home will become more and more beautiful. Almost imperceptible to the passing neighbor, over time, beauty will be revealed. Our house isn’t in terrible shape, it’s just been neglected. A little of love and elbow grease will make it shine as it once did.

My preference would be to knock it out in one fell swoop. If I could, I’d line the contractors up to tackle all of our projects and, combined with our DIY weekend warrior projects, have the whole thing done in a month. But life isn’t Fixer Upper.

Life is incremental progress, the great work of perfecting ourselves in the model of Christ. Conversion happens slowly, incrementally, and imperceptibly. Life, especially the Christian Life, requires patience. In those times when we fail to live as we should, it requires grace. Not just grace from God, but grace with ourselves. My home may look plain and barren today, but in time, its beauty will be revealed as we remove the decay. So it is for the Christian. The decay of poor choices, past and present, is slowly removed by the Divine Carpenter, until all is new, whole, and beautiful.