It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To! Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

by Kim Grams

Twenty tissues. That’s my record of tissues used while watching Extreme Home Makeover. It was the episode about the cop who got shot and is now in a wheelchair. The boy with the “glass” bones really got to me to. They all get to me, which is weird because I almost never cry.

When you have a chronic pain condition, you do a LOT of blocking. I have to block out huge amounts of pain, so I can focus and actually get something accomplished each day. When the pain is intense, you can’t filter out just the pain – you end up blocking a lot more. And you’re not just blocking out sad, sometimes you’re blocking happy too. I’ve heard other chronic pain-ers talk about feeling “flat”. That’s what we do to get by.

And just for the record, I’m not usually one of those whiny people who are always complaining about their health. But it’s a fact of life for me, and I’m not afraid to share. For me, as a writer, if I’m going to write about Pop Culture and how it affects us, then I have to start with how it affects me.

When I was younger, I was such a GIRL. I cried about the stupidest stuff. Now I almost never cry. If I cried whenever something was hard or painful, I’d never stop. My kids know that if something makes mom cry it must be pretty bad. Until we started watching Extreme Home Makeover, they’d probably seen me cry twice – once when I hit my head REALLY hard and then at my Dad’s funeral.

And then came the conundrum that is Extreme Home Makeover. Hadn’t watched it, and wasn’t interested – I’m not really into “weepy” shows. But one of my daughters caught a clip and asked “What’s that”? And I said, “It’s this show where they help people and fix their houses”. Then she said, “That’s cool! Can we watch it?” And then I (reluctantly) told her we could try it. We watched one episode; not only did I bawl the entire time, but we got COMPLETELY hooked.

I thought they fixed houses. I had NO IDEA how much more it was than that. They demolish the entire pre-existing house, build a new one – often specially designed for health conditions or particular needs. They tailor the rooms to the specific hopes and dreams of each person in the family. And the houses are the most amazing, creative things you’ve ever seen. They aren’t just building dream houses; they’re building dreams. They are helping each family get out of a horrible situation by wiping the slate clean. They give the family a fresh start.

Now I don’t know why I cry uncontrollably whenever I watch this show. I mean, yes, it’s very touching and emotional, but, like I said, I’m not really a crier. But then the family on TV is crying, and the design team is getting choked up and then next thing I know, I’m crying. Maybe after so much blocking, I need an emotional release under controlled conditions to get it out of my system, instead of letting it pop at inopportune moments, like when I’m trying to cook dinner. OK, that’s a bad example because after a couple fires, stitches, and some truly inedible food I don’t really cook – I heat. But you get the point. I can’t afford to get distracted by pesky emotions in the middle of everything I’m trying to do.

So I’ve been thinking about this show from a cathartic, emotional perspective, but it’s also educational. We’ve learned about rare diseases, environmental stuff, and geography. And as far as entertainment value, we love to see how they demolish the houses and the design aspects of each room, especially the theme bedrooms – often for the kids – that give them the perfect room. And if they have career aspirations or a hobby, Extreme Home Makeover outfits their room with all the necessary tools to pursue their dream.

So one day, out of the blue, this random thought hits me – this is what it will be like in heaven, only times infinity. We can’t even dream big enough for our brains to comprehend how absolutely amazing it’s going to be. Jesus is preparing a place for us. What came before will be completely demolished, and everything will be perfect. “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2).

And THEN I realized that I won’t have to block anything out more. There won’t be sad or hit-by-a-tank pain. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4). There will be pure, unadulterated joy. PLUS, I’ll get to see my dad again! Not only is that what waits for me, but I don’t need to make a video to send to ABC and hope I get picked. Everyone gets picked. Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, and Him crucified will get an “Extreme LIFE Makeover”. Our home, our bodies will be new. Every bad thing will be wiped away. Demolished. A fresh start.

I have a lot of shows I watch for fun, but I think I NEED Extreme Home Makeover. Not just for an emotional release, but for the reminder of the promises that have been made by our Savior. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body”. Philippians 4:20

In the meantime, while I’m waiting, pass the tissues please!


Kim Grams is a writer and pastor’s wife who lives in Scottsbluff, NE. A dancer and an avid reality TV viewer, she debuted with Diary of an American Idol Junkie

Created: February 6th, 2008