befores and afters

Life has been very busy these past few weeks.  In the background of all the activity, we had our kitchen done.

Well, the church had our kitchen done, as we live in a Manse.

The difference is amazing.

It’s brighter, lighter (literally – we have good lighting now).

There’s no hole for the mice to get in.

The bit which was all patchy since last year’s double glazing installation is gone.

You don’t walk into the fridge as soon as you open the door.

It’s simply a nice room to be in, whereas before it made me feel so gloomy.


Of course, a lot of work and effort has gone into it, and we were very blessed to have someone we know and trust.


It’s the middle part that’s always the difficult bit, of course, when all is chaos.  When everything is littered everywhere, when normality is disrupted, when you have to clean up all the dust and the mess afterwards.

Behold – corny analogy approaching!  A dramatic before and after situation will usually have a messy middle.  It will usually require taking a deep breath or making a difficult decision.  It may mean sacrificing comfort or personal preference.

I’m reminded, in a tenuous way, not just of life as a whole (the ‘just’ feels hardly valid, but never mind) but more specifically of the creative process.  Particularly, in my case, writing.  Can anything ever come from this higglely piggledy mass of words?  Will I ever get through the long middle where it’s all messy and of dubious quality and find the end?  Can I craft all the pieces into something wonderful and clean up all the dust afterwards?

Do I believe in the power of befores and afters – i.e. the power of transformation – for much greater things than an assortment of cupboards and a new sink?

Just wondering.


8 thoughts on “befores and afters

  1. Kaitlin says:

    Beautiful kitchen, and lovely post. It reminds me of the dramatic change my characters go through – and the messy middle in between makes me think that perhaps I’m doing something right!


  2. Perpetua says:

    Now that is a proper kitchen, Lucy! What a transformation. The before reminds me of my first vicarage kitchen, which sadly didn’t get a makeover in my time there. 😦

    Corny it may be, but i like your analogy. One thing I would add is that kitchen designs don’t just happen as you go along but have to be thought through first. I guess the same is true of writing. Even with the messy bit in the middle, you have to start work with an outline of what you want to achieve if it is to be well-designed and executed at the end.


  3. Nancy Wallace says:

    I also found your corny analogy really helpful, particularly your point about the “messy middle”. I found myself thinking about the transformation of a church community and the importance of working through the “messy middle” – working together on difficult issues/relationships – the process itself is as much the transformation as the finished result.


    • Lucy Mills says:

      Oh yes, and this sort of thing was rumbling at the back of my mind as well. Church, relationships, community – plus me and the state of my heart. All have to deal with the messy middle – most of the time, it seems!


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