On scaffolding and the Washington Monument

The Washington Monument opens again today for the first time in years. Three years ago, in August 2011, an earthquake caused bad damage to the monument and forced its closing. WashingtonMonument-scaffolding-and-lighting-08July2013_CWG-IanLivingston

When the repairs started years ago, scaffolding was erected around the monument so that workers could safely restore and repair the cracks and holes. The National Park Service did an excellent job building and designing the scaffolding in such a way that the monument would still retain its beauty and its integrity.

Especially at night, the monument, cloaked in the scaffolding and lit with 488 lamps, was really quite beautiful. Some people even started talking about how they wished the scaffolding would stay.

But the scaffolding was never meant to be permanent.

There are seasons as leaders and as people where we need to build scaffolding around our lives, to repair and fix the broken things. To restore parts of ourselves. So, we take time, build scaffolding, and get to work. Or we were really hurt in a relationship, and so we build the boundaries to protect our heart and to get well.

Or maybe we move to a new place, or start a new job, or have a kid -- some big transition -- and so we take the necessary steps and build the infrastructure to make it as smooth as possible.

But how often do we then continue to live with the scaffolding, long after the repairs have been finished? Long after the transition is no longer a transition?

We may get used to how the scaffolding looks… but we have to remember that it was just meant to repair the broken places, or to help us navigate a tricky season. Once that process is complete, we should remove the scaffolding, and let our true selves be seen.

You may worry that you’re not ready, that you’re not fixed or looking perfect when you head out the door. But trust that the work that you did in the season of scaffolding was good, and you’re ready to stand without it.