An old tool shed stood abandoned with nothing left but cobwebs, the smell of fuel oil and sweat of hard days past. A corner a backyard yearned for such a structure; woodworking shop? Potting shed? Home gym? Imagination running wild.
Preparations were made, building movers in line, a new foundation was laid and excitement ensued. When pieces came together, we found the building was longer than anticipated. An old carpenter’s adage is to “measure twice and cut once,” yet my experience has proven, “measure twice, cut once, measure again and cut it right the second time.” Extra blocks, extra wood and a temporary fix was in.
As evening approached, a folding chair and glass of tea lent time to dream new dreams and recount the day’s victories … and failures. Quick thinking and extra muscle can overcome some errors; others stand as lessons to pack away in our toolbox for next time. Whether it is writing measurements on a scrap of wood or totaling a spreadsheet a second time, I try to turn mistakes into practices that prevent repeat performances, adding “tools” to my toolbox.
Pondering next steps, I wondered how often our preparations fall short of the impending task ahead. Would bit more time and effort have avoided the difficulties? Perhaps. Yet many of these “tools” gather with time, with experience and with “re-engineering” when plans fall short.
A friend was attending a church retreat, one of which changed my life significantly. I felt inadequate in supporting his journey due to my current travels, or apathy, or both. My “foundations” came up a bit short, crumbling at the edges so I opened my toolbox and found:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 NIV
Though familiar with most of this passage, verse 19 caught my eye, “Do not quench the Spirit.” Pray continually, believe and then get out of the way. I set out on an hourly prayer vigil, using phone reminders to keep me on track. Not only was I supporting his journey, but also I found my prayers expanding to those laid on my heart. This new tool resulted in less stress, more focus, a refreshed mind and less opportunity to wander off straighter paths.
As the weekend ended, I chose to keep this new tool in hand, extending from a weekend to a full week, then may a month and perhaps a new full time habit; building foundations strong enough to lift others when the need arises. If this habit takes hold, the results are bound to make it to these pages so stay tuned…