As I write this, the sounds of staple guns and buzz saws echo in the background. The cacophony of construction noise coming. from the home next store is now entering its second week.

Last week, it took me twenty minutes to drive two miles to pick up my daughter from a friend’s home. The delay resulted from an unimaginable number of road closures that forced detour after detour, as road repairs were happening en masse. My understanding is that this project will last months.

Construction is often loud, noisy and most of all inconvenient – even to those who benefit most directly from whatever is being built or fixed. We clamor for better roads to repair potholes, desire better facilities in our schools and towns, and want all manner of broken things fixed. Yet when the process of building and fixing commences, we can lose our minds.

This is all exacerbated when conditions elevate our stress. For example, studies confirm that we are prone to become more hostile during heat waves – like the one the much of the country is experiencing now.  A jackhammer in 100 degree heat is hard to bear. Perhaps it helps to remember that at least you’re not the worker wielding that unbearably loud tool for eight hours a day.

Of course we don’t just construct or build things in a physical sense.  We construct our lives and watch others, like our children, construct their own. We construct our culture, democracy and society. All this, too, can be loud, messy and inconvenient to others.

Eventually the roads get paved, the house gets built, and lives find structure and stability. It would serve us well to remember during these times to take a step back and marvel in the construction, to appreciate our ability to move through life more smoothly, to take notice when our government or institutions function well and enjoy whatever structure we are now able to live in comfortably.

Because the day will come again when construction begins anew. The buzz saws buzz, the hammers pound, detours force us to go in undesirable directions and our frustrations mount. It is all an inevitable part of a cycle where at any given time some part of our life finds itself under construction.

For me, it’s helpful in these times to take a deep breath, try to block out the noise and remind myself that everyone is simply trying – albeit not always in a fashion we like or approve of – to build something to make their life better. Whether that be a smoother surface, a nicer home, a better government or a life that they can call their own.

This Week’s Recommendation: If you need a break from the noisy construction around you, go for a long drive and play some Zach Bryan on Spotify. I listened to him for three hours on a recent road trip and like the best of country music – his simplicity can bring some solace and a smile. 

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