I was thinking recently about what goes on in the lives of many, if not all of
us, as we go from discovering the gender-variant part of our nature, to finally
feeling total comfort with who and what we are; then finding the best form of
expression for ourselves as individuals. I have spent much of my life in the
remodeling field; for the most part remodeling kitchens and baths. The
similarities in the lives of gender-variant people and a home are striking.
What brings this all to mind is a short passage from a small book of inspirational
thoughts by Max Lucado. This particular one was from his book “Just Like Jesus”.
In this passage he talks about the discomfort sometimes associated with
remodeling and I thought back to my first experiences in the business of remodeling.
I would spend many hours getting to know the homeowners. I needed to know how
they used their kitchen, who did the cooking, who cleaned up, what kind of
cooking did they do; were they serious chefs or Stouffers-out-of-the-package?
Occasionally all they really needed was a new sink and faucet, a few new
pictures on the wall or new wallpaper. But, most of the time it was far more
As Lucado writes in reference to the changes God can make in our lives when we let
him, “We don’t object when The Carpenter adds a few shelves, but He’s been
known to gut the entire west wing … (He) envisions a complete “restoration.” That’s what happened with many of my customers and that’s what happened in my life.
I, like the homeowner, thought at first that “a few shelves” would do or
“a new sink and faucet”. You know … a wig, a dress and maybe a pair
of heels; put them on every now and then when I could get away with it. The
problem with remodeling is, knowing how far to go, when to stop. One new room
in a home can tend to make the rest of home outdated or unsatisfactory.
Budget has a lot to do with it, but for the most part a vision of the end result and a
feeling of comfort in that vision is paramount. The most successful remodeling
projects are those where that vision of the finished product is crystal clear. Unfortunately in our gender-variant lives the vision is seldom that clear in the beginning. True it usually does eventually become crystal clear for most of us, but not before
we and our families have endured enormous upheaval in our lives. The greatest
upheaval occurs when a remodel project begins without a plan, agreement on that
plan, budget, time-frame for each phase, and most of all, someone in charge
with ultimate responsibility for the outcome.
There was a point in my gender remodeling project, which had begun without a plan,
agreement on the plan, budget or time-frame, when I realized I didn’t know what
was going to happen next. I thought I was in charge; I wasn’t. I needed a
project manager because, as I proceeded I found that even though I had a vision
of what I thought I wanted, I didn’t have a clue as to how each phase was going
affect the next phase. I needed an expert project manager who could make His
vision, my vision.
When I finally turned “my” project over to “The Project Manager” who I called Abba, I
found out almost immediately that there was far more to being a woman than “a new sink and faucet”. I needed to remove a couple of walls, new flooring, new cabinets, new countertops, windows, light fixtures, appliances, paint, wallpaper, dishes, linens, entertainment center, sound system and the list became nearly endless. In my case at least, I didn’t feel a need to re-do the “plumbing”. That can get really expensive and
create real havoc in the home, although at times it is necessary to achieve the
In even in the most carefully thought out projects, with people who are in
complete agreement on everything, there is often a problem. That problem is the
reality of the internal turmoil brought about by “strangers” disrupting your home, as you have known it, even though you wanted the changes. In many cases one of the couple
involved would have a vision and understanding and was eager to proceed, but
the other was not at all sure that they wanted to go ahead with the project. They
liked things the way they were. Sound familiar? Of course it does. That’s what
goes on in our gender-variant lives and the lives of our families.
When a home is purchased the new owner, or owners, always envision what it will be
like when all the personal touches are added, and they always expect it to stay
that way when they are done. None of us want to have someone else influence the
outcome of our own “vision”, not without at least consulting us first. The happiest people are those whose visions are the same. Wives for the most part and husbands too expect their vision of the spouse they met and fell in love with to remain virtually unchanged. A spouse who proceeds with a remodeling project on the home or themselves without approval of the other dooms the home and the relationship to a disastrous end. Before anyone starts any remodeling project they need to, in a paraphrase of a current television commercial, “Go to Abba’s List first.”