Pastoral Ponderings…May 2015

Dear God,

It was ¼ inch. That’s this much, [ ].

A few years ago I got tired of my kitchen. Our home is in a subdivision where all the kitchen cabinets were made by the same custom builder. Nothing wrong with the cabinets that were built in, but I found them boring.

With that in mind I took down the old cabinets and tore out the soffet (which is the boxed-in area above the cabinets). I had the ceiling re-plastered and Jerry Hubble and I changed a few electrical things for lights. Barry Yontz helped me choose and order the new cabinets.

Hanging cabinets is a two-man job so I hired another carpenter to help and we were quickly done.

However, when I sat down my eye noticed something off. The other carpenter looked and didn’t see anything, but when I put my 6-foot level on the cabinets I found out they were ¼ inch off on 10 feet. I pointed it out but he said nobody would notice but me. I suggested we should fix it, but he continued to say it wasn’t a big deal. At that point I paid him what I owed him and thanked him, then proceeded to take down the entire wall of cabinets and raise them ¼ inch.

It’s a ½ inch. That’s this much [ ].

If you stand in the pulpit and look to the pews on the west side of the church you’ll come to the second-to-the-last pew and see it slopes. From the pulpit it looks as if it would be uncomfortable to even sit in! However, when you actually measure it you’ll see it’s only ½ inch. Jerry said that was a pew made for that space, so apparently it was built that way. I guess everybody has gotten used to it.

It’s 12 inches. That’s this…well, it’s bigger than this piece of paper from top to bottom.

I’ve got a 12 inch floor tile that broke. I found another and cut it to fit, but it’s been lying there unglued or grouted for two years now. Most days I don’t even see it anymore, but it’s obviously not finished. I just got used to it, and although my intention is to fix it I don’t even see it anymore.

Three different parts of my life, Lord. One I saw was wrong, it was my fault, and I fixed it…even if nobody else would have noticed. One was built wrong. I didn’t do this one but even though my eyes tilt every time I see it there’s no harm and nobody else notices. The final one is a repair I started but never finished. It’s been there so long I rarely see it anymore, but it needs my attention.

I always try to see the lesson in the simple things in life. The first lesson is that it may be a pain in the neck, but simply fixing something the first time I notice it is always the best. No carpenter likes “re-work”: the process of having just completed a task, but then seeing that something’s wrong and beginning the arduous job of tearing it apart to fix it. However, if you build on a mistake things only get worse; i.e., if the framing for the door isn’t square it’s going to be tough to install the door properly.

The second lesson is that there are things that I see wrong around me, but they don’t generally affect much. It’s not an issue to anyone else and it really doesn’t hurt anything, so don’t worry about it.

The third lesson is that there are things which I am responsible to change, but I just don’t get to them or I do them half-way. These things are the worst because whether people see them or not, I know they are there. These things remind me not to be lazy about life, but to step up to the plate and do all I can to keep my life in order.

When I was doing my clinical training for a counseling class my professor always told me that if I wanted to do well in life I always had to attend to the little things in me that need attention. Attend to those things as soon as you see them because otherwise you’ll get comfortable and these faults will simply become a part of you. That’s tough to do in life because sometimes I don’t even notice things that are wrong, but sometimes I see them and just get comfortable. It’s hard work to keep on top of my life and change as I need to, but I suspect that’s what you would want me to do.

So, please help me today to be a little bit more self-aware…seeing the good and bad in my life…and then help me not to ignore, justify, or procrastinate on these things. As always, thanks for listening.

Love,

Dan