My wife, and me by association, is addicted to home improvement television. I watch these shows and remind myself that ratings are the purpose, not construction, which is sometimes horrendous. Maybe there’s a leak or a sag or a wet spot. The homeowners rightly wring their hands and wonder how much this will cost to repair. “No big deal!” says the contractor. “We’ll just nail this up here, fill this here with Spackle, and give the whole thing a fresh coat of paint. It’ll look great!”

Ah, but the question isn’t how to ‘make this look great.’ The question is ‘how to rightly repair the underlying problem.’ It’s easy to make things look great. Fixing the underlying problem can be hard work and takes time. And is often hidden from view. When you’re filming a television segment on a limited budget of time and money, fancy tile sounds a lot more fun than a strong framework below the surface.

You know where I’m going here.

That sagging beam will have to be dealt with one day. The homeowners will have a bad taste in their mouth for contractors, having been lied to once. What was cheap and easy and poorly done now will now be hard and intrusive and expensive when done later.

Most of us do the same thing with our lives. We cover up the things we struggle with. We rarely take the time to understand ourselves and make fundamental changes. Sooner or later, just like a rotting beam, what we try to cover will reveal itself.

I eat when things start getting tight. I’ve generally never met a dessert that I didn’t like. But when stress starts closing in, then ten cookies sounds much better than one or two. I know that I clam up in relationships. I work more. Maybe lots more. Work solves everything, right?

Do you fix things or cover things up?

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