If you’re in my girl squad, you know that I’m not someone who wants to spend the afternoon shopping… unless it’s at a home improvement store. These meccas of home improvement are my personal Disneylands. I have spent countless hours in amazement, walking the aisles and discovering wonderful items that are meant to fortify or beautify my home. If I don’t know what a “thingie” does, I eagerly Youtube it. I have learned to extend electrical sockets, cut crown moulding, do extensive amounts of masonry and tile work, and my most recent project was laying 1800 sq. ft. of luxury vinyl plank. You know, in my spare time.
That’s the fun in what we see in the world around us. We appreciate just how beautiful some of our neighbors keep their homes. We see the lighting and the landscape, with not so much as one twig out of place on the perfectly manicured shrubbery. We chuckle at manatees. Even social media is a gallery of wondrous images of people showing us their very proudest moments as evidence of lives lived well. We “like” the adornments, we savor the creativity, and we enjoy the gorgeousness that so many put into our world.
Yet in all the time I have spent on social media, not once have I ever seen a picture of a healthy functioning foundation. Imagine scrolling along and seeing “Check out this monolithic slab!” or “So excited for my epoxy crack injection I can’t hardly stand it!” or “Ooh la la! #frenchdrain.” We occasionally hear about foundations being poured, but only as a “hurry-up” prelude to the fun stuff yet to come, like a big kitchen. But underneath all of what our home was, is, and will be is this faithful foundation: the single most important element that allows you the freedom and confidence to play with paint, stone, wood, and fixture.
There are metaphorical foundations being poured every day. Young athletes hit the pools, tracks, or weights at 4:00 a.m. while we are still asleep. We won’t notice until years from now when they win their first gold medal. There are young musicians practicing alone behind closed doors. But most won’t really take notice until they end up being a nationally recognized band director, like Fayette’s own Dr. Myra Rhoden. There are people who work every day with children who struggle, but the recognition comes when they are finally able to accomplish a hard-earned skill. Students are up studying until 3:00 a.m. for that diploma. The couple that makes their marriage a priority every day is finally honored and celebrated for that commitment at twenty-five or fifty years.
Pouring foundations is a very serious undertaking. If the soil, moisture, and weather conditions are not right, the concrete will not cure properly. If the earth is not prepared to hold the foundation, the foundation will eventually crack and damage the building it holds. If the foundation construction crew is not meticulous in their attention to detail, the long-term ramifications can be costly, and sometimes even deadly. Whether you’re building a home, starting a career or family, or going for whatever dream you hope to achieve, then you must ensure that the foundation behind all of what you hope for is strong, impermeable, and durable. As the old hymn goes, “all other ground is sinking sand.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The beautiful rests on the foundation of the necessary.”
Adopting this perspective, we realize that so much of the quality that we experience is because of the underlying elements that we often forget about: the roots, the footings, the foundations. For every glimmering glimpse of success, underneath is this vast firm foundation of planning, commitment, perseverance, and talent. Just as the underground roots maintain our favorite trees and blooms, the beauty you seek must rest on the foundation that you pour. Wait patiently, pour intentionally, and then build beautifully.