A small and fanciful parable for you today my friend.
There once was a woman who dreamed of living in a beautiful house.
She thought about what it would feel like, where she would store things, how it would be decorated and what happy things would happen there.
She thought of colorful flower beds and a welcoming front door; she dreamed of a light-filled kitchen where she would create beautiful food; she even dreamed of children’s faces and voices that would fill the halls with a joyful noise! Mostly she knew, living in her house would make her happy.
There were times when it was hard to dream about her house, because she was in the midst of fear or sadness. But she always came back to her house dream, where, she was sure, she would never be sad or lonely or afraid again.
Eventually, the woman did have the opportunity to own her dream home!
She was elated and certain it would bring the fulfilling experiences she dreamed it would.
Then one morning, not long after moving into the house, she noticed that there was a slow leak under the kitchen sink. Later, she discovered a crack in the mortar between the bricks on the front porch.
“How can this be?” she thought, “this house is supposed to be perfect?”
Not long after that, she also realized that she didn’t always feel like cleaning her beautiful house, or keeping her yard tidy. (Those colorful flower beds took a lot of work!)
Even the paint on the welcoming door began to wear and peel.
And that was just the beginning!
A few years later, there were plumbing problems and furnace issues and on and on the trouble spots continued to become more and more visible, and more and more daunting.
What ever should she do?
She wondered if she had been wrong to dream about this house? Did she miss out on some preparations or did she simply make her choice too soon?
She wondered if maybe everyone who had ever encouraged her to own a home had withheld the stark truth that with ownership would come such a burden of work and complicated problems!
After some discouraging days of clogged pipes and freezing temperatures (without the furnace working), the woman decided to bag it all.
“Nothing lasts forever” she thought.
Maybe home ownership was a pipe dream!
Then, as she was about to collapse in despair, there came a knock at the door.
Opening the door, the woman was startled to find an old, but vigorous woman wearing a sparkling tool belt standing on her porch, grinning at her (of course) and asking to come in.
“My dear,” the old woman said, “you look so sad and discouraged! Is there something I can do to help you?” she asked once she was seated.
“Well, maybe there is,” said the young woman.
“I’m just so frustrated with this house! It seemed it would be all I ever wanted, all I needed to make me happy, but now all I can see are the problems! Maybe I was wrong to buy into this idea of happily ever after!”
“Well, let’s see,” said the old woman. “Tell me about your plumbing skills, and would you please show me your furnace maintenance schedule?”
“Skills?” replied the woman, “Schedule? Maintenance? Seriously? You mean there are things I’m supposed to do to keep my house working? I’m just really tired of the whole mess. This was supposed to be my dream! My happiness! And now it’s falling apart! I am so devastated, it must have all been a mistake!”
Kindly, the old woman listened and nodded. She too had once been a young woman dreaming of her own home and happiness!
When the young woman finished her lament, the old woman reached into her tool belt and pulled out a key.
“My dear,” she said, “your home was such a lovely dream! There is nothing wrong with your choice or your timing or the way you envisioned your life here.”
“The only thing you need to know is that you need skills and knowledge you didn’t know you needed! You simply thought that if it was the right house, it would never have problems or need regular care!”
“I need what?” asked the younger woman, perplexed.
“My dear, most likely you didn’t make a mistake at all. You simply didn’t understand that living happily in your dream home would require you to become someone you weren’t before! Not someone else, just the grown-up, mature and truly loving version of yourself.”
“And no, you don’t need to go in search of another house or become a Nomad, living in a tent or find some newer kind of home that is supposed to suit you so well that you never have to learn anything new. That is a pipe dream!”
“My dear,” the old woman continued, “simply because your home needs repair and maintenance and new skills, doesn’t mean that it was or is fatally flawed. It only means that when something needs attention, you need to press forward, be bold and figure out what tools are needed to keep your dream alive!”
“Not only will you learn that you have what it takes to make your home what you want it to be, but eventually you will learn how to build additional rooms with more function and beauty than you’ve ever before imagined!”
“So open your lovely eyes and see what it is you need to learn!” and with those words the old woman took another tool belt from her own and handed it to the young woman.
“No time to waste moping! Take this as your own, and wear it.”
“But there isn’t much in it,” the young woman said, feeling through the pockets.
“In fact, I’m only finding one tool, a key, here,” and she held it up.
“Yes,” the old woman nodded. “You’re right, there is really only one tool in the belt. You see, all the tools in the world really only boil down to this one.”
“When problems arise, and of course because you’re growing they will, use this key to discover what is needed to correct the problem.”
“But how will a key repair a furnace or unclog a pipe or keep the flower beds nice or fix the mortar between the bricks?”
“Well, it won’t,” the old woman replied, “the key is simply here to remind you that you are the key!”
“It is your heart, your mind, your courage, your determination and most of all your humility and honesty that will be the key to making and keeping your dream an evolving thing of beauty and possibility!
It will remind you that the house you thought would would make you happy, is actually only the stage for you to learn how and practice truly loving others….and doing that will create happiness for you too! Truly, when you learn the how-to of that kind of love, then, the pipes in your dream home will flow freely, the door will sparkle, the furnace will efforlessly keep you warm and your flowers will be radiant!”
Relieved, yet somewhat perplexed, the young woman thought quietly.
She felt that the old woman’s words were true, though she didn’t see just yet how the key and what it meant would help her to create all of the grand things she desired in her home.
The old woman stood, and with a hug and a quick wave, moved to the door. With the light of experience and love shining in her eyes, she smiled at the young woman.
“You can make your dream what you always meant it to be. I know you can.”
Then, still smiling and closing her ancient eyes, the old woman twirled around, sparkles flying from her skirt and in an instant she was gone.
Vanished! Leaving only the belt, the key and hope behind.
In group coaching this month, we’re talking marriage and the power you have to make your’s great!
Love to you,