Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Morning Thanks--Sand and the Wise Man

I think I needed a Sabbath rest. Not that the world was getting away from me, although it is; but there's a house going up just down the road, a new house, and it's ours, and it's more than enough to take your breath away.  I needed a Sabbath.

But they'll be at it again this morning, putting up the forms for the basement walls, I guess. The building process is so far out of my control that I feel like I do at an airport, where, once inside, you're simply out of your own control, nothing more than a fare, as passive as a possum. Here too.  It just goes--the building that is, and all I do, all I can do, is watch.

. . .and be shocked that we're actually doing it. We tried the country last summer, rented this century-old farm house, but the pheasant right outside my window right now, and a whole gang of creatures and an open sky and a wide landscape and a shallow river and towering cottonwoods--it all conspired seductively, and we couldn't help ourselves:  we fell in love.

We're too old to build a new house, our painter told us.  We're retired.  But there was no alternative domicile right here; if we wanted to stay, and we did, then we had to build.  We're not the "dream house" types, never have been.  We spend the last 30 years in a beautiful older home, more oak than most churches.  But we're doing it.  We're building. Takes your breath away.

The builder says Jesus wasn't right about everything. He says we've got a great place out here because what's beneath the basement floor, now poured and set, is nothing but fine river bottom sand, a foot of black Iowa earth and then sand as tan as a camel. A wise man builds his house upon a rock, the scripture says, because sand is no foundation.

Maybe theologically, the builder says.  But right here, on a rise just above the Floyd River, a wise man builds his house upon the sand, he told us, pointing at what the digger pulled out of a hole in the ground that will, soon enough, hold our new house.

Still, yesterday I needed a rest. The Bible was right about that. I needed a rest.

This morning's thanks are for a basement floor in a hole in the ground and a couple piles of sand, for a builder, and a skeptical painter, and a whole squad of people who'll be here to accomplish this-and-that-and-other-thing, while this possum does little more than watch.

Never thought we'd do anything like it, but we are. You're never too old to learn.

Listen, I spent way too much of my childhood in a Christian school to shelve the old children's song about wise men and substantial building materials.  That old ditty will be with me till I die. 

Still, this morning, I'm thankful too for all that sand.


Anonymous said...

This old man is taking audit courses at the local
college in the new field of home weatherization. Get on the internet and find federal, state and local weatherization standards for your new home. Be sure your contractor is up to date on all these buillding standards. It's fun too. Makes one think he or she might just begin to understand what is going on in this fast changing world. Looks like your contractor is putting a moisture barrier under that concrete slab. Good job!

Anonymous said...

Back when I was Hunterized by a lady named Madeline Hunter, PhD in the pedegogical whys and wherefores of good teaching, she emphasized that one begin each lesson with an "anticipatory set".

You did just that by showing us that picture and giving us a glimpse into your future plans.

Exciting and fun...who cares if you are 65+? Go do it if you can...

I am looking forward to your home-building chronicles as the building project progresses.