A young widowed friend of mine tells me the other day that at long last she is remodeling her home – the home that her husband purchased before they were married. The home she shares with their seven-year-old son. Lisa loves the house but the structure was feeling cramped, especially the alley kitchen.  “It’s so strange to be tearing the walls down,” she says with a half-smile on her face. “Bart was the cook; this was his kitchen.”

I watch her body language as she shares the news. I haven’t seen or spoken to Lisa in many months, yet the house remodel is one of the first things she mentions. In spite of the way she looks at me with equal measure of worry and amazement, she is proud of herself for taking the step, this I can tell.

“Lisa,” I say in a quiet, steady voice, “I think Bart would want you to tear the walls down. It’s time.”


I’ve been thinking about Lisa’s remodel all week and how she is pushing important boundaries in her life.

There’s a lesson here for all of us, widowed or not.

Here’s a small example. Yesterday I bought an olive green handbag. Wait, let me explain. See, I typically wear black or chocolate or tan because these neutrals blend with everything. I’m no fashionista (read: I don’t switch purses every time I change clothes). In fact, I don’t think about these things; I just do what’s easy. Now that I look back on it, it was during Brett’s illness that I turned away from color in favor of soothing neutrals. But some urge to go beyond my safe color scheme has been tugging at me. I really hesitated while looking at the olive green bag in the tall mirror at T.J. Maxx, doubting my selection one minute and putting it back on the hook, but then grabbing the bag again because I realized that I actually liked the color.

So I bought the bag.  And it makes me happy to think that in this seemingly inconsequential way, I, too, am pushing my boundaries.

How do you nudge yourself forward?

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