11 jan 2008.
Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12.15)
as i sit in the aftermath of 3 ½ wks of demolition and reconstruction, eating a bowl of ants with cereal on top, it seems like a good time to reflect.
the other day as i was sweeping piles of dirt and debris off the floor, it occurred to me that a rich man could pay for someone else to do this. in fact, a rich man wouldn’t likely find himself in this situation at all, of having to live in the midst of chaos and cold and confusion for weeks on end, while his house was being undone and redone. a truly rich man would likely have enough money to simply hire others to do all the dirty work, while he lived elsewhere.
how could we volunteer to destroy the most important portion of our house during christmas, and then be responsible for feeding an extra family of 5 for almost a month? truly a miracle of bad timing.
but then it occurred to me that this remodel is riddled with other miracles and much more meaning than would be attached to it if i had simply conscripted strangers for the job, precisely because people we love and who love us have permeated the process since its inception:
- stephanie, kait, and carly ripping out carpets
- lonnie, in whose mind this whole kitchen scheme was spawned and nurtured
- larry h, mary p and individuals in the grace group who in spite of their own need contributed funds: voilá: le grace group front door!
- donna t, ralph g; and sally.who provided – and still provide – inspiration and input
- tim and alli, drew, luke, brooke, brent who with crowbar and sledge hammer launched d-day with a bang
- cloyd m, lending his RV to us, total strangers, so that we could house 3 teenagers in our driveway
- annie and walter providing over the fence lodging for lonnie and mary
- lonnie’s tireless work…sometimes even 16-17 hrs a day, even now still pondering the reorganization of the bathrooms for yet another project!
- gracie who was always willing to help, complaint-less even after being bitten by the dog
- spencer, and especially taylor, initially bitter about being forced to give up his christmas at home in arkansas, yet returning with treasured memories and accomplishments – especially the mantle – and bearing an obvious deepening of his maturity
- mary kathleen keeping things like the unglamorous trash in their proper places
- aaron r, between jobs, yet driving over from pasadena, not once but twice, to put up sheet rock for nothing.
- don d coming from beyond sacramento to contribute 2 weeks of his life to making holes in our house and filling them with windows.
- billy coming many times and giving of his time and talents even though his only connection to us was thru don and joby
- harold l, the electrician with an oil well in his front yard, wiring our house and garage for free
- john b, who in spite of weakness caused by chronic liver disease gave us steps that now lead down into the den
- sally and ted, joby, walt and sherry and the williams bringing gourmet dinners, along with all the contributions of grace groups who pounded us when we got to the states.
- and evan, and mike and heather ...and others i've probably forgotten, forgive me.
- and erik, ryan, lucas and melanie…especially melanie
i can only conclude that this is not my remodel; this is OUR remodel. each and every nail and screw, each and every cut of the saw, every board pulled up and put back, every stroke of paint and swipe of stain, every shim to level doors and windows, every expenditure of mental effort to design and redesign and re-redesign, every dustpan full of ex-house, every meal cooked either by us or by others… each is a gift, the willing voluntary contribution of members of the body of Christ who have injected themselves at every step along the way towards making this house a home. their fingerprints on every surface declare their love for us. none of this could i ever buy. miracle of miracles: i am much richer than the rich man.