Monday, July 09, 2012

Pause for Thought
BBC Radio 2
June, 2012

I have construction going on next door.

It’s never much fun for the neighbours - the incessant clatter and the work vehicles blocking the road.

I live up at the end of a quiet street. The quiet was always something very attractive about this posting. All that ended when they started gutting and rebuilding the house next door. We’re told that they couldn’t get planning permission to raze the place to the ground. The Council insisted that something of the old remain. I imagine the construction costs are just as large. They didn’t rip the house down and build again. It will be a new house based on an old frame.

Many of us are given the option to reinvent ourselves a couple of times in adult life. Following a major life change, a divorce or a bereavement – or because we arrive at a point of life where we recognize that we could change tack completely.

The children have moved out. The dog has died. And so we take up the challenge.

How do you rebuild yourself when you have the option? You may want to keep a few things

When you remove the mouldering wallboard and strip off the roof, rip out the mixed hedge, knock down some of the interior partitions and make larger more functional rooms – is it the same house just because the exterior walls are standing.

We are all something old and new – there are a few fundamental principles which we want to retain – a few basic ideas about the universe – about family – about love, faith and generosity which we will continue to anchor ourselves in. Our house is not something so much like a house of cards that one change will cause the whole thing to tumble down.

The dreadful wallpaper, however, is optional – as is the layout of our small rooms which were never adequate to house all the people we love or to host the experiences which we value.

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