I had a conversation with a person recently who was struggling with life. They have been dealing with a long history of addiction and just couldn’t see a way out. It was, for them, a never ending cycle of active addiction and sobriety. In a sense, there was an inability to see any hope in their life. The course of our conversation led us through many twists and turns, from how their relationship with God has changed to how they viewed life, in general. As we moved through our conversation, I felt like it was an experience of tearing down and building up. Tearing down what was old, useless, limiting and dark. And building up that which was hidden, true, new and full of potential and life.
If there really is a never ending cycle in our lives, then it is this cycle of tearing down and building up. We need to tear down (or be torn down) the things in us and our lives that are not allowing us to move and grow. And we need to build up the things that remind us of who we truly are and who we are called to be!
In today’s gospel reading from Matthew about the mountain experience of the transfiguration, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up the mountain for revelation. However, this revelation is about not only who Jesus is, but is also about who they are.
In that process, what needs to be torn down is their image, understanding and belief about who Jesus is and who they are. There’s a quote that says, “In life you will meet two types of people. The ones who will build you up and the ones who will tear you down. In the end, you’ll thank them both.” In my own experience, I would say this is true. I have had to tear down the “ways things are” in order to allow myself to enter into the “way things really are.” There was a deeper reality that I needed to enter into in order to experience a more comprehensive view. My limited view and understanding of myself and the world needed to be expanded. And the people that have helped me (or pushed me!) along on this path of transformation and understanding are truly blessings in disguise. They have helped tear down some of the construction I have put in place or that has been put in my life by society, culture or family.
Jesus is revealing to his disciples, and to us, that the cycle of suffering, death and resurrection are a part of everyone’s life, not just his. There are going to be moments and experiences in our lives that will call us to lay down the excuses and defenses, pick up the cross and head toward Jerusalem, where, like Jesus, our death and resurrection are waiting for us. And these deaths are meant for our building up - to give us the ability to see who we truly are, that our lives have more purpose and meaning than we ever thought, and that there is a divine love that stays with us through it all, bringing us closer and closer to the great piece of art that we are.
In this sense, we are all weekend warriors, taking on a home improvement project! What “you improvement” project are you being called to work on today??