By Kenneth Stepp
I remember my first car. It was an old Chevy. Today it would be considered a classic, then, an old clunker. I couldn’t wait to drive. Three months before I turned 16, my dad introduced me to my car. I opened the hood and my heart sank. The top of the motor was missing. My dad said, the engine was rebuildable and that if I wanted to drive it any time soon, I needed to get busy. I had to rebuild it. It made me appreciate that car so much more.
I believe I have rebuilt my life several times. I believe if we are single, we have had to or are in the process of rebuilding ourselves. I have heard so many stories about rebuilding lives. I have a friend who was married, a child, climbing the corporate ladder, woke up one day and had a massive stroke. Now single and living with her parents, she’s in the process of rebuilding physically and emotionally. We’re all pulling for her. I know she will succeed.
I could tell so many stories like hers. Life was good then it wasn’t. My story is this way. I had it all till I didn’t. But more times than I care to recall, my life fell apart and my father’s words rang in my ears, it’s rebuildable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been broken, crawled in bed at night and hoped tomorrow would be better. Tomorrow, I will rebuild. Starting tomorrow I will do the next right thing till I’m rebuilt.
I often wonder if there is a limit. Do I wake up one day and stay broken? If I do, what will my life look like? If I rebuild my life again, what will it be like? Rebuilding doesn’t mean it’s better than before. Actually, it usually isn’t. For me rebuilding has just been the absence of brokenness for a time. I long to endure less and enjoy more. While I’m rebuilding, that seems to be a crazy dream.
When my dad gave me that old car, he did not enable me at all, he simply loaned me his tools. He knew it wasn’t about the car at all. It was about making me strong under pressure, helping teach me to survive in difficult times. He didn’t see a skinny 15 year old boy, he saw the man he was molding me to be. I can’t tell you how much I miss his simple wisdom.
I had a conversation with a friend the other day. We had a conversation about how God builds us to be who we are. It dawned on me that that was always going on, it never stops. But there are days when we are more buildable than others. You see, we have to face adversity to grow. Growth comes for me on days when I allow myself to be built, or rebuilt.
Today I am working from home, studying, and thinking deeper than most days. My thoughts drift back to a little more than 7 years ago. My marriage ended then. I doubt anyone who knew me then would know me now. The years of rebuilding, growth, and acceptance have changed who I am from the inside out. Am I better or just different? One of life’s mysteries.