Tag Archives: foundation

A New Foundation

I love it when life inspires me with dots. For my regular readers you understand, if you’re new to this blog, dots are moments in life that connect to reveal a theme or idea that I share in a post. Yesterday, life provided two dots to highlight an important aspect I had been thinking about.

In the morning I was reading the book, Dragonwings, by Laurence Yep, while waiting for my wife to complete her doctor appointment. I read through the part of the story when the earthquake devastated the neighborhood except for Miss Whitlaw’s home. “‘Papa always built well. He said he wanted a house that could hold a herd of thundering elephants -’ … No one had constructed the houses along the street as well as Miss Whitlaw’s father had built his” (pg 157).

At the time, I was just enjoying the story, not connecting any deep life themes. Until about an hour later when we headed out to get groceries.

I know it is hard to see, but this house is having a new foundation built underneath it. You can see how the ground underneath of the house is being dug out, you can see sunlight toward the back of the hole. They have half the road blocked off for the trucks and the excavator. There are temporary supports in place. Putting in a new foundation looks like a lot of work, but it can be done.

As I am prone to do, the metaphor of a foundation connected in my head, maybe because I have used it before in a blog post about parenting (“Trust Your Foundation“). However,  this time I connected the metaphor to our personal foundations, which are built with the help of our parents in our younger years. If the foundation is strong at the beginning, like in the book, we can withstand an earthquake. It doesn’t mean the house isn’t damaged, but we will be standing after the storm.

Not everyone has that strong of a start. People can feel lost in this life. They can feel like they can’t withstand the troubles life brings, but the second dot makes an important counterpoint. With some hard work, any house can have a new foundation. You have to dig deep, find the support you need, then take the time to build a new foundation for your house to rest upon.  

Our foundation is the base of our everyday life. The foundation supports our goals and provides us a stable home to live in. Our foundation will be tested in this life, there will be storms. We will stand or fall based on how well we built our base–even if we are older, working on a new foundation.

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E is for

The E in L.I.F.E is for every day.

Some stats:

You will laugh about 17 times today (“Daily occurrence of laughter”).

Your heart will pump about 7200 liters of blood today.

You will listen to 4 and a half hours of music today (“Time With Tunes”).

You will spend 10 hours consuming media (“Americans devote more than 10 hours a day to screen time, and growing”).

You will spend 1440 minutes today of your life.

What did you spend those minutes on? Your goals? Yelling at someone on the drive home? Letting someone know you loved them? Adding shows to your “My List” on Netflix?

Our lives have big moments, some of them positive, others are heartbreaking. But most of our life is how we spend the 1440 minutes we are given each day, and that is important to understand for a few reasons.

The first reason is because we all have a last day. No matter what you believe regarding the afterlife, we all get one life. One path to walk. Each day is an opportunity to show love. To work towards a goal. To strengthening relationships. Or not.

Maybe because I am a few years away from 50, but time has become more valuable to me. Each day is an opportunity to spend time doing wonderful things. Or we can do mundane or negative things. Yes, it is our choice on how we spend our time.

The second reason to understand how we live every day is the connection to the moments in our lives that are drastic. How we live everyday creates a foundation that helps us when the big moments happen in our lives. It doesn’t matter if it is a negative or positive moment, we will respond to those moments based on the way we live every day. We will respond with love or negativity. The foundation we have every day will not ease any pain we may feel, or make the joy from a moment last longer. Our everyday foundation helps us deal with the moment. It directs our next step.

Today is our life. How we live today builds our life. We will have our hearts broken. We will achieve goals. We will laugh. We will cry. Life is what we do now. What we do with the 1440 minutes. We don’t have a great life looking back on our last day… we have a great life today.

Below are a few media recommendations that correlate with this idea.

Books

The Big Sea by Langston Hughes is part of his story as a young poet. His story highlights how we live influences our goals and talents.

Every Day I Fight by Stuart Scott reveals why every day matters.

Movies

Dead Poet Society is a complex movie about the tension between traditions and personal freedom.

The Truman Show is a movie about the beauty of everyday life.

Songs

Live Like We’re Dying” by Kris Allen is a good reminder to spend your time on the important stuff.

Five More Minutes” by Scotty McCreery highlights how everyday moments make for a great life.

LIFE is for… (concluding post next).

 

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The Work it Takes

The college is replacing the light poles in their parking lot.

I have written about building a foundation before, in different ways, but as I walked past the hole the workers created, a different thought came to mind.

We can’t actually build a foundation until we have done the work to prepare to build it. For the workers, they had to remove the old foundation, remove dirt, and deal with the wires. Then they had to dig the correct sized hole to build the new foundation.  Let’s use this process as a metaphor for our own development.

What is the work we need to do to create the space for our new foundation?

What dirt do we have to dig into? The first step is dealing with emotions. Fear, doubt, and even anger have to be dug into. Addressing what emotions are involved is an important step. It doesn’t mean you will eliminate them. And you shouldn’t try to remove emotions, but you should address them. Talk about them with someone. Understand how those emotions are affecting your actions. By addressing them you can build your plan, which is the second step.

I believe a working plan is the best. Meaning that we have goals or milestones to reach but we need a plan that is flexible so that we can adjust as our lives change. Even as a father, I have a plan this year to make sure my oldest son is ready for college. There are milestones we want to cover with him so that he has a strong foundation for next year. Some of those include budgeting, servicing his car, and other aspects of being on his own. Having a plan is important because of the last step, dealing with expectations.

As I pondered about writing this post, a deeper insight emerged. Whatever foundation we want to build, we have to dig a bigger hole so that we can build that foundation. That means we have to deal with emotions, plans, and consider more of our lives than just that foundation. We have to dig the right size hole to fit our new foundation. If the hole is too small, we might be able to get a foundation built, but it will not be as strong as we need it to be. If you dig the hole too large, the foundation can be built as planned, but our life is affected. Sinkholes will appear. We will spend more time fixing those, instead of building our foundation.

There are a number of foundations in our lives. As time goes by we build new ones and have to replace old ones. Just remember the work you need to do before you construct a foundation: deal with your emotions, plan how to build, and dig out the correct space to build your foundation.

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