Lent 8: Building Up

…a time to break down; and a time to build up…

Day 8 of 40 was a day of building.  It began with snow building up again in driveway.  Two weeks ago, I hand-shoveled approx 600,000 tons of snow from the driveway (rough estimate).  To see it returning was demoralizing.  I went into hunker down mode.  I really have a hard operating in bad weather.  I know there is a disease about that, and I don’t think that I have it…I just get blue.

Then at 11:25, I realized that I had a noon meeting.  So I jumped out of my pjs and into work clothes, like Richie Rich.  Then I thought…uh-oh, I drive a Honda and I have had problems with that lately.  As I ventured outside, I found that the snow was light and fluffy.  Despite its depth, I found it easy to get to my car and to get it down the road.  The street was no better than it was 2 weeks ago, but I just got over that and got moving.

I pulled into the Presbyterian church at 12:01 and followed my nose to the lunch meeting room.  Also present were several UMC colleagues, two Catholic priests, a Lutheran pastor and one of his parishioners, a Brethren pastor, a Baptist pastor, 2 Habitat reps, 2 folks from our big non-denom mega-to-this-area church, someone from the Family Medicine group at WVU and the Presbyterian pastor/host.  For over an hour we discussed how our churches can cooperate in helping the homeless in Morgantown.  The city is wanting to begin a Task Force to deal with the circumstances.  We have one shelter that is overpopulated and no cold shelters.  It was nice because as our host spoke and as others shared, I realized several things.  #1-I understood everything that was being said.  #2.  I knew almost everyone in the room.  #3.  I could see many possibilities for how the churches could work together to alleviate the matter.  The one observation that bothers me–I could not figure out how my churches could be part of the solution.  That has been one of the bothersome aspects of this meeting, which otherwise, was really exciting.  Observation #4 comes right now–I am almost always fully engaged in matters of mercy, justice and mission.  That I should not lose or forget.  I do get bored with regular church work sometimes, and that in and of itself is no cause for alarm.  At the same time, there is something within me that needs to be engaged with helping the less fortunate.

My evening came quickly.  As the snow continued to fall, one student and then another called to tell me that the Bible study I teach was going to be canceled due to snow.  So I went home.

As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed a very big package leaning against the snow bank by the road.  From my days working for UPS, I knew right where to find the most pertinent information.  In the driving snow, 50 yards and several stairs from my home’s entrance in good ol’ fashioned black and white…”119lbs.”  Several heaves, pulls, pushes, lifts and squats later our baby’s dresser was out of the snow bank and into the house.  Instead of disseminating crucial insight into the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I was piecing together a dresser that turned out to be quite complicated.  I began as M left for a meeting, I finished past midnight, just 8 missing screws shy of full completion.  And the door is crooked.  Baby better like it.

Disciplines Scorecard:

1a)  Driving the speed limit–Did well, aided by the snow.  4:4

1b)  Foul language–An up day altogether.  3:4

2)  Fasting Lunch–Nope.  Even had ham.  1:4

3)  Giving up Facebook–Glad to hear from another who is enduring this same discipline.  Good luck D.  4:4

4)  Reading–Ezekiel waits.  1:4

5)  Something strictly between God and me–Felt some temptations, but, by grace, endured.  4:4

6)  Visiting Parishioners–Snow killed this one.  1:4

7)  Guitar–Hours of dresser building killed this one.  1:4

Did I mention that I created a scorecard to track my success?  It is a scale from 1-4, with 1=failure, 2=mostly failure, 3=mostly success and 4=aced it.  The excel sheet can track my overall daily score as well as average score per discipline.  The best day I had was an even 3.0.  The worst was a 2.14.  I have a perfect score on the discipline that’s strictly between God and me and a paltry 1.625 for using foul language…which is doubly terrible since almost all of that is alone in the car.

Image: “Building with blocks II” by tillwe

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