Do The Next Thing

In Publications by Allison Byxbe

My husband, Ben, and I recently needed to sell two houses, both purchased prior to our meeting each other and just before the housing bubble burst in 2008. We were also simultaneously renovating a 1966 fixer-upper to move into once our other houses sold. This was a crazy-busy time for us, our three young children, and our two dogs, one of whom eats library books on the regular.

During this chaotic time, one of my dearest friends asked me how in the world I was coping. I laughed, wondering if I was. It’s not as if the rest of life takes a hiatus while you play real-life Monopoly. I realized, though, that what did help us cope was telling ourselves, Just do the next thing on the list. Repaint the front door. Finish caulking the trim. Clean out the garage. Repair the tile. If we dwelled on everything we were trying to accomplish, we grew overwhelmed and discouraged. But if we told ourselves, Okay, just get to the next task on the list, then we kept going, trusting that in the end all our work would add up to two houses ready for the market and a third ready to occupy.

But if I’m honest, I have to admit I’ve wanted to quit at times when not even thinking about the payoff motivated me. How many times did I cry out to Ben, “I’m done!” as I walked through depression? I felt as though I had nothing left in me, no more internal resources, to fight that battle. It was my way of giving myself permission to protest. I don’t like how I feel. I don’t like how this is happening. I don’t want it to be this way anymore. I’m exhausted. This fight for my soul feels too big. But in that moment…To read the rest of this story on The Glorious Table, click here.