Sunday, August 7, 2011

The best part

This will be short because I've been nursing a migraine most of the week since I returned from the east coast.  First swollen glands, then a headache.  My body just won't quite relax into the lovely days that have finally come to the northwest.  And when such days arrive, there is no place like this.  I'm telling you, after the heat and humidity of the east, I do not take for granted our mild weather, though I do miss BB's pool. Sigh. It's always something.

However, we do have a beautiful new deck out back which I can take absolutely NO credit for whatsoever.  That must go to Beve and one of his teacher friends who has taught Beve a whole lot about construction.  When I got home Tuesday, my birthday present was waiting for me--brand new dark wicker deck furniture, so rich and lush with cushions I'd never move from it if I didn't have to.  This afternoon, even with an aching head, E, SK and I sat out there while Beve and his buddy worked on the steps that will extend in an L-shape down into the lawn.  Jeff, the foreman/teacher, who worked construction many years before becoming the technology teacher at Beve's school, was measuring and cutting 2 x 12s for the steps, while Beve hauled gravel.  The girls and I sat, drinking our water, reading our Kindles.  Jackson sat in the shade on the deck near the house, a contented grin on his face.  Honestly, sometimes it seems like he's saying, "What on earth took you so long to build me this deck?"  Jamaica raced around with a very dirty, very chewed-up tennis ball, hoping against hope that someone--anyone!--would throw it for her. She just never stops running.  Yep, even with a headache, it was a lovely afternoon.

In the middle of it, I heard Jeff ask Beve, "What is your favorite part of building this? Building the structure or laying on the decking?" 
Beve answered, "Discovering that it's level and true."
"That's my favorite part, too," Jeff answered.

They went about their work without saying anything else, but I couldn't get their words out of my head.  The best part--the part that makes all the hard, back-breaking work worth it, is the single moment when a corner is square and the top is level.  When the whole wall is true.  Having watched them several times this summer, I can tell you that they have been true more often than not.  Remarkably so. And you know why?  They took a great deal of time to build the foundation well.  They didn't cut corners.  Not once.  Some might say they did more than was necessary, but Beve wouldn't.  He wanted this deck to be strong and true.  Wanted it to hold and last and stand level.  To stand the test of time as well.

It's something we don't often think about, that small moment when we discover a thing is level and true.  Perhaps it's a moment we find out someone has stood up, has said no to a small thing, but that no will help square the foundation of his life.  Perhaps it's simply keeping true to the plumline that God has set before us, and turing neither to the right or to the left of that.  Keeping on that straight blue line no matter what.  Level and true.  It's what I want for my life.  And I want my children to want it, and their children to want it. To stay true, stay square to Him--and for Him to do--through the spiritual shims and nails and every other means it takes to keep them true.  That's His part. Their part is to allow Him access to this work. 

May we all come to see this leveling, this squaring up of our lives to Him as the best part. Indeed, the only part.

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