Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)
TITLE: A master builder sees through walls
By Bev Davis
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Title: A master builder sees through walls
Slowly, steadily and precisely, the brick mason positions a chunk of hardened clay.
Gently, he taps it with a hammer. He picks up a tool with a small handle and a broad flat surface and begins to scrape away some of the soft ooze beneath the brick.
His weathered features are as finely chiseled as the end of a long slender instrument he uses to create a small indentation in the wet concrete.
Finally, he picks up a level, places it on the top of the wall he is building and watches to see if the small bubble will center perfectly.
Slowly, steadily and precisely, the fourth-generation bricklayer picks up another chunk of hardened clay and repeats the entire process.
He will do so until all of the walls of someone’s brand new home stand solidly in place.
Some might say the brick mason’s work is tiresome and tedious. The satisfied smile etching its way into his kind, gentle face while he works tells me he sees his job much differently.
His contented expression makes me think this brick layer can see through walls.
Perhaps he can look beyond the brick and mortar and see a garage with a couple of kids’ bikes, a lawnmower and maybe a dad’s workshop. Maybe he can envision a tidy kitchen where a family gathers at the end of the day to feast on their favorite meal and talk about their day.
Brick by brick, one by one, He carefully places and perfectly aligns each brick to create the shell that will take on the life and personality of the folks who move in.
I look at the recently excavated earth — all brown and ugly. Pieces of torn roots dangle out from one bank. Big ugly rocks litter what will someday be a spacious back yard.
There are no flowers, no trees, no grass, no white picket fence to provide a context for the worker who gives such rapt attention to his task.
He doesn’t share my need to see a well-manicured lawn, meticulously tended flower beds, small mulched segments of landscaping lined with decorative stones.
Brick by brick, one by one — without any surrounding embellishments — this architect in bib overalls sees a finished dwelling.
His eyes never leave his work. His vision sees far beyond it.
It’s a hot summer day. He works beneath a blistering July sun in humidity that would melt the frosting right off a cupcake.
I sit in the shade, leisurely sipping some way-too-sweet lemonade. As I watch this highly skilled worker moving like a well-oiled machine, my thoughts turn to God — the Divine architect of my life.
Brick by brick, one by one, He carefully sets the days and hours in place. He skillfully applies this tool or that one to make sure foundation the will not crumble under the storms that will assault my life.
He carves a niche just for me. “Ouch! That hurts,” I whimper.
He smoothes away extra goop. “No, no! Don’t take that away! That’s part of my comfort zone!”
He places the level on top of the last brick He has most recently set into place.
The bubble does not center.
My selfish ambition has thrown off the balance. My will. My plans. My agenda. Each has caused too much softness in the mix. The concrete foundation He needs to mesh the bricks of my life together will not hold.
He knows how to fix it, though. His skill is unmatched. The dexterity of His hands, unfailing.
His eyes never leave His work. His vision sees far beyond it.
I look at my life and see bricks chipped and battered by my tussles with doubt and self-will. I see crumbling mortar and uneven lines.
He sees a solid wall smoothly held together with boundless love and forgiveness.
Around me, I see tangled roots and dry, barren earth and big ugly rocks. He sees a home situated in a serene garden teeming with the fruit of His Spirit.
He begins again. Slowly, steadily and precisely, God ordains this circumstance or that situation to make this chunk of hardened clay part of a vessel that can hold His glory.
A temple that can house His Spirit.
A place God Himself wants to call home.
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