Transitional phases are never easy. Whether it's remodeling a kitchen, rearranging the furniture or cleaning out a closet, the transitional phase is always a bit messy. This past month, we had our children's bathroom remodeled. We put it off for as long as we could. The shower has leaked for years, so our two children have been using our master bathroom for showers. The water in the sink only ran out in a trickle, barely enough for brushing teeth, and always cold. When the toilet quit working in December, that was it. We had to press forward with a bathroom renovation.
Since we knew that this renovation was inevitable, we had thought and talked about what we would do. The blue-on-blue tile was to be stripped, the blue tub pulled out, all plumbing redone (as it was leaking). All in all, a major overhaul. The new tile would be black and white basket weave on the floor and white subway tile on the walls and surrounding the tub, as it fits in with the traditional feel of our home. We chose black antique rubbed cabinets and classic chrome fixtures. A classic look, nothing fancy.
Demolition began while we were in Iowa for the caucuses. We returned home to a bathroom torn down to the studs. Plastic was taped around the bathroom doors and over the hallway pictures to keep out the dust. Plastic was rolled out over the hall carpet to keep the carpet clean. It was clear for anyone walking into the house that construction was underway.
While I was in South Carolina, the bathtub went in, the tile went up, and the cabinet and lights were put in. After I returned, the painting was completed, the towel racks hung, only the mirror was missing.
As often happens, while we had people working in the house, we decided to do a bit more and paint the children's rooms. So between campaigning in states, we moved out all the clothes, knickknacks, books, etc. from their rooms into the living room.
The new colors on the walls are refreshing and clean. The furniture has been moved back, the books put back on the bookshelves, only the pictures and mirrors are yet to be hung. The new look is worth the work.
This process is true for more than renovations, painting or housework. Whether a room is transitioning through remodeling or repainting, or you are transitioning to a new job, a new ministry, a new school or a new project, the transition is always a bit messy. That's because the point of transition is to change. What was there at the beginning, by definition, will not be the same at the end.
In many ways, the Republican primary process has been a transitional process, and as expected with transitions, it often looks messy. So far, four states have had caucuses or primaries: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, and there have been three winners, Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Former Speaker of the House (my dad) Newt Gingrich.
Of the nine candidates that had announced at one time or another during this primary, only four are left -- the three above and Texas Rep. Ron Paul. As the results for the Florida primary came in Tuesday night, only two of the candidates were in the state of Florida, Gingrich and Romney (the winner of Florida). At this point, with four states completed, only 5 percent of the total delegates have been awarded. While many pundits might attempt to call the national nomination based on only a few states, there is still a long way to go to secure the nomination.
The next phase of the race will move from state-to-state primaries (so far, each contest has been stand-alone, one after the other) to multiple states and multiple rapid dates. This is a transitional period for all the Republican candidates, and while it might sometimes have the appearance of a construction zone, the belief is that the end product, the ability to articulate the core message of conservatism, will be worth the messy transitional phase.
For those who decry the process as too messy and too complicated, I'd like to say that it's a whole lot better than living in a totalitarian regime, or being involved in a revolution. Our founders fought for our freedom, so we would have the opportunity to go through this sometimes messy, but always necessary, process.
Flying back from Orlando, Fla., as I write, I'm looking forward to seeing the completed bathroom, mirror and all.