May You Live Every Day of Your Life

(Originally published June 17, 2013.)

Sometimes you have to pull something apart and put it back together to really understand it. I’m not talking about the architectural movement of deconstruction – where buildings are designed to literally look like they are being pulled apart – but events and moments in your life.

Several years ago, I heard a sermon on The Lord’s Prayer that dissected every line. “Our Father, who art in Heaven” took on new meaning with a focused, up close look. I was fascinated with the depth of understanding that came from that one exercise. Coming from a girl that prefers pictures to words, this exercise has actually taught me many things about deconstruction. Pulling things apart and putting them back together can lead to a deeper understanding.

In my practice, I encourage clients to pull things apart to make sure they are clear. In particular, we do that with competitive bids. I list all the elements of the costs in a spreadsheet so we can compare apples to apples and choose wisely. That process is part of how I serve my clients’ best interests.

I have never understood deconstructionist architecture and I still have nightmares about taking architectural theory again. However, I do admit that this process has made me a better architect in both design and project management. I’ve applied it to many areas of my life outside of work as well.

For example, I saw this Jonathan Swift quote a long time ago on a bookmark in a checkout line at Borders: “May you live every day of your life.” I am not an English major. (In fact, - don’t tell my teenage sons - I failed high school English because I thought it was stupid.) Just so you don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t present this as any kind of academic exercise or assume that it would hold any validity in literary circles. However, I found this very enlightening.

“May You Live Every Day of Your Life”

May: From Steinbeck’s East of Eden, I learned that the word may comes from the Hebrew word Timshel. Timshel is defined as choice. In this Swift quote, the word may is a blessing of choice. The author is not saying you have to or I hope you do; but rather “You always will have the choice.” How beautiful and freeing is that?

You: This is very personal and singular. He is not talking to a collective group of people nor a general blessing for just anyone. You – personal and singular. Internalize it into your own heart and soul

Live: To live. To really live your life. Actively and with purpose. Don’t let life just happen to you, live it!

Every Day: Each and every one. Not a majority of the days, not during easy seasons, but Every Single Day. Every day only comes once. I believe there is a reason Swift used the word day and not minute or second or week or month. We should be able to find something positive and worthy in every day that we live. Don’t let a day pass you by without finding one thing that makes that day worth living.

Your Life: This is your life, no one else’s. A life is a very long time with different people moving in and out, many different seasons, stages and struggles. This blessing encompasses ALL of these times -- the entirety of a full life.

Rewritten in my own words: I wish for you that you always have the choice (and that you would choose well) that you personally, privately, in your own heart and soul make the choice to grab a hold of and use wisely some part of each and every single day of this long, tough road that we call life.

I encourage you to find your own quote that you connect with. Dissect it one word at a time. You might be encouraged by the depth you can find. Then pass it on. You might feel silly at first like I did, but stepping outside of your comfort zone is the only way to stretch yourself. And you never know when it might make a difference.

As Founder and Principal Architect of Springhouse Architects, Sheri’s mission is to lead Clients through the building process with the Clients in control and Springhouse as their guide, advocate and ally.  With over twenty years experience in Residential Architecture, Sheri brings knowledge and confidence to your custom home project.

Lisa Saldivar