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Tearing Down the Old to Make Room for New

Looking east, from Smiðjustígur to Klapparstígur. Laugavegur would be to the right. The Hilton Canopy Hotel is here now.

If you've been reading Iceland Eyes for a while now, you'll know that I have a thing for pics of construction, and for how we're constantly digging down to the bedrock here on Þingholt then filling in the holes again. Some call it progress, others call it profitable, and still others say it keep the economy rolling by creating jobs.

Sometimes, though, it tends to look a lot like endless busy work, with men (and a few women) milling around a construction site with unseen purpose, in their orange outfits and hardhats and steel-toed worker boots. Sometimes they man jackhammers or diggers, and sometimes an electric saw can be heard from outside the perimeter fences of the construction site. But mostly it's as if by magic that, months later, a road is drivable again, or a building (sometimes tasteful, sometimes not) appears where the chaos of that gaping hole once was.

To turn this into a metaphor, it seems we're all being asked to dig to our own personal bedrock these days, to find our truths and discover who we'd like to be in the blueprint of our future. Like the Heart Park, which so many of us loved for the few seasons it existed, but which had been neglected along with many of the buildings surrounding it (purposely or not), sometimes we need to find the courage to let the familiar deconstruct, exposing our core foundation so that we can allow something new to come in its place. How much do we control the rebuilding of our lives? That I don't know, and I guess the answer depends on what your personal (spiritual) beliefs are.

What I think I understand, though, is this: our futures are constructed by all the small decisions we make each day. Those decisions are our building materials, and they can either have or lack the integrity to create a life structure of beauty, longevity and personal worth. Our constructs will be affected by the external unknown, and by others over whom we have no control. And we are blessed to be able, at each moment of our lives, to choose how we'll interpret and interact with the outside world as it itself unfolds and grows.

I like to think a brick of courage has more lasting strength than one made of fear, and that humility makes a better, more flexible rebar (for example) than anger. I would like to decorate my life's structure with kindness and forgiveness and gentle love. Even if it takes longer for people to see what it is that I'm creating, and even if I lose myself sometimes in the chaos of living, crashing into others' constructs and definitions of rightness, even if parts of my personal structure are weak with ill-made choices, I hope that as a whole the life that I'm creating will be beautiful, and an integral part of this amazing society in which I've chosen to live.