Friday, July 15, 2011

Putting on decking

It's summer...or so the calendar tells me.  As do the dirty dishes on the kitchen counters.  I'm not in the right rhythm for everything that's taken me by storm this week.  I'm used to three of us in the house, to running the dishwasher every other day and expecting us all to fend for ourselves five nights out of seven.  But this week, not only is the house full but there's been a crew out back building a deck.  YEP, for real. And all these people have emptied our cupboards of glasses especially.  About the time I want to set the table for dinner, I realize we should have run the dishwasher, and end up using nice glasses.  AGAIN.  But, as E would say, running the dishwasher twice a day is a first-world problem, so I'm really not complaining.

Out back, Beve has put his muscle with a friend's building brain and another friend came over just to be part of the chain gang, I think, and between them, there has been a whole lot of measuring, sawing, pounding and...well, to tell you the truth, what looks to me like just plain staring.  Staring at pieces of lumber to make sure each piece is straight before it's set into place.  Staring at the plans, even at the sky, it seems.  Just plain staring. I walked out there yesterday just to check out what they were looking at so intently, but in some ways, it's a little like looking into a car's open hood.  I just don't have staying power for the tiny details.

But today when the girls (E, SK, M) and I got home from the morning matinee of the final Harry Potter, Beve and his buddy were sitting on our deck.  They'd laid decking across the frame, put our backyard lawn furniture up there and were enjoying the sunshineclouds.  Nothing's screwed down yet, but it's sturdy enough that we enjoyed our lunch out there, basking in our lovely new space. 
One of the few sermons I remember from my college years was about Noah. "Puttin' on deckin'" it was called. And it went something like this (though, now in my own words, obviously): it took Noah a lifetime to build the ark, and, considering the size of that huge boat, a great deal of that time was spent simply laying down the decking on the ark.  Noah obeyed God over a long, long life, doing the most mundane, repetitive work one can imagine: nailing boards to a frame.  Over and over and over.  There's not much glamorous about it when you think of it this way, this building of the ark without power tools or even any paid labor.  It was grinding, mind-numbing work.  Putting on decking, day after day.  And to this--this lonely, slow, difficult work--God called him.  And for this--this endlessly-dragging, blister-raising work--God blessed him.  Noah believed God when God called him, and was faithful to that call. NO MATTER WHAT!

As our decking sits waiting to be set permanently in place, I think of Noah.  Of his faithfulness in the face of sneers and jeers and his own doubts. And I think of my own need to be reassured that God is in something when He's called me.  And reassured again. And again.  I have so little staying power.    We all do.  I mean, compared to Noah, that is.  But "faithful is He who calls you, and He will also bring it to pass."  If He calls you to something, it only makes sense to keep doing it until He says otherwise. 

That's what putting on decking will always mean to me.

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