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.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 5:51 AM