Judy and the kids were out of town for a few days.  The evenings and the coming weekend were my own.  Unless an emergency arose, I had no one else’s needs to consider in deciding what to do with my time.  After spending a few quiet evenings, I decided to take on a project for the weekend that I knew would take a sizeable amount of time.  The project was to replace the kitchen countertop, the sink and the plumbing under the sink, build in space for a new dishwasher, and then hook up the dishwasher and the sink.  We had already bought all the materials.  I was just looking for the opportunity to tackle it, and here it was.  The luxury of uninterrupted time.

Early Saturday morning I dove in.  As I did some of the basics, clearing off the countertop, turning off the water to the house, removing the old plumbing under the sink, removing the old sink, and a few other things, I was aware of telling myself, “If things go bad, I can just put it all back together and call someone.”  However, there came a point when I had to decide to start actually tearing some things up and pulling some things away from the wall.  That’s when I realized I had reached the point of no return.  I couldn’t just put it back together and quit.  I was committed.  Unless I wanted to live in a house with a nonfunctioning kitchen, I was quite literally trapped in my house until the task was done.

That which I had freely chosen to undertake became the bondage under which I lived for about 48 hours.  Clearly I had the choice to abort the project in the middle of things, but the consequences of such action did not appeal to me, and seemed even less appealing knowing that the rest of my family would be returning soon.  Consequently I chose to be enslaved by this project for the weekend.  I was locked in my house with all the doors wide open.

That realization was not new to me, but as I worked in solitude that day, I began to see how that phenomenon defines so much of life.  We embrace something that holds the promise of bringing us fulfillment or freedom or joy or something desirable only to find ourselves feeling trapped, frustrated, frightened, and eventually resentful of the very thing we had chosen.