Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Inner Strength (04/20/06)
TITLE: A Firm Foundation
By Shari Armstrong
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He sipped his coffee, which was almost too hot to drink. Almost. He saw Dan’s car pull up along the street and park just as the truck from the lumberyard turned the corner. They soon started hauling the two-by’s out of the truck and dumping them into piles. The smell of lumber filled each breath.
“Hey, Jeff, give me a hand.” Matt placed one of the beams on the saw table after measuring and marking the length.
“Sure,” he balanced the beam, and caught the end when the cut was finished.
Dan sneezed from the sawdust. “My old lady’s thinking of moving home with her mother.”
“Sorry to hear that, man.”
Dan shrugged, “We’ve been having troubles for awhile.” He grabbed another beam, slid it in place on the table.
Matt looked at the wood, “We can’t use this one, it’s splitting down at this end.”
“Yeah, it is. Didn’t notice. Good eye.” He tossed the wood into the scrap pile.
“Did she give you a reason why?” He balanced the wall frame into place while Dan checked the plumb, and then nailed it in place.
“She’s mad cause I don’t take her church stuff serious.” Dan avoided Matt’s eyes. “Yeah, I know you go to church. It’s just not a big deal for me.”
Matt held a couple nails in his mouth, as he pounded another into place. “Sounds like losing your wife is a big deal. I’m not going to tell you what to do, but going to church has a lot more to do with you than her.”
“Yeah, yeah. She nags about it all the time. So what if I have a few beers on Saturday night with the guys and sleep in on Sunday? I work hard all week, I deserve it.”
Matt could almost taste how good a cold beer would be right about now. “Yea, but that’s not the point. Just think about it, is it really worth losing your family over it?”
Dan shrugged again. “Alright, I’ll think about.”
“Where’s that dry wall?” Matt took a swig off a bottle of soda.
“They said the driver was on his way when I called.” Dan flopped down on the ground.
“How are things going?”
Dan leaned back against a beam. “She’s still at her mother’s, but we’ve been talking.”
“That’s a start. Wanna come over for dinner? Can’t live on coffee tills she comes home.”
“Nah, I don’t want to be a…” he jumped up. “There’s the dry wall.”
The delivery truck rumbled to a stop.
Matt let the subject drop as they begin putting up the dry wall.
Matt unlocked the door to squeals.
“There’re my girls.”
“Hi, Hon.” His wife leaned in to give him a kiss. “Is Dan coming for dinner?”
“No. I’m gonna grab a shower.”
“Smells good.” He tried to snitch a piece of ham off the plate before his wife swatted at him.
“Just go sit down.” She carried plates of food to the table.
They sat down and bowed their heads just as there was a knock at the door.
Matt opened the door, “Hi, Dan. Change your mind about dinner?”
“Yeah, if the invitation’s still good.”
“Sure is. Have a seat.”
“Daddy, I wanna say God is great.”
As they started to bow their heads, Dan interrupted, “Do you mind if I try? I think I need the practice.”
Matt smiled and nodded.
“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it:” Psalm 127:1a
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