Like many families, our summers are filled with ‘to do’ lists and endless home projects. And although these things are not always easy or fun, nor what we consider to be the best part of our summers, completing these challenging chores often brings beautiful, unexpected blessings.
When my family moved into our current home, the first project that we decided to conquer was updating the backyard. At first, we thought this task would not be too terrible. Most of the work, outside of removing some trees and an unusable pool, would be easy and maybe even enjoyable. After we uncovered large slabs of old bricks, buried just beneath the dirt and consuming our yard, our optimistic views of yard-work quickly changed. The task at hand was monstrous, and so we decided that all we could do was conquer it one brick at a time.
It took a week, but my family and I did it. We carefully removed each brick one by one over chatter about our day, or what project we wanted to do next. As we worked, I found myself often thinking about the work that we were doing as a family, the slow and steady work that seemed to sustain us through some of the boredom that the recent Covid-19 pandemic brought with it. I have often thought of the family that placed the bricks in our yard and how much time and care that it took to get the bricks in the ground just so, each one carefully chosen to fit into a certain path, a certain pattern.
Some bricks were removed easily, and others were difficult as roots had grown into their knots and were determined not to let go, much like we do when letting go of what we know seems risky or scary. As I tugged and pulled each brick out of the ground, I slowly began to ponder God and his work as a caring, loving, patient, and creative bricklayer. Just as the bricklayers did for our home, God also carefully chooses just the right bricks for our paths and domestic churches. He carefully helps to build grand pillars of faith, hope, and love that mothers rely upon when guiding their families to draw closer to God. As I removed the rooted bricks, the ones that had to be discarded so that new plants could grow, I pondered how God has helped me to remove the bricks in my life that needed to be let go so that I might grow in my spirituality and motherhood. Like a creative artist, God knows just the right design, the right pattern of bricks, that will enliven my ordinary life with his extraordinary wisdom.
St. Faustina once remarked that a “meaningful building will never rise if we reject the insignificant bricks.” I would add that our meaningful buildings will stay strong and never fall as long as we remove the broken bricks of our lives. What are the bricks you need to move so that you may be closer to him? If the answer overwhelms you, just go brick by brick. God will be there to help you do the rest. Just wait and see.