I heard an incredible idea recently. A guy came home from vacation only to find that he’d been fired. He called his two closest friends, to lament the situation. One friend asked him. “Do you think maybe you’ll laugh about this one day?” He thought about it and said “Yes, I probably will.” So his friend suggests “How about if we laugh about it now..in faith?” They did and it changed everything.
How amazing?! It makes me think of devastating times in my life that, looking back, I wouldn’t trade for anything. One in particular was Hurricane Katrina. There were a few completely melt down days…living in complete fear of my future. Almost everyone I knew lost nearly everything they owned, so we were all in it together…which made it hard to complain, but there were days. I remember my parents returning to their ranch house (that had taken in 6 feet of water…8 in the garage). We began tossing everything out, onto the front yard…for the city to pick up. Then my dad picked up a crow bar and started gutting the house. Neighbors stopped by and said “Sam, what are you doing?? We’re not rebuilding. We’re going to move.” My dad said “We’re rebuilding.” Then he spray painted a sign that said “No whine zone” and got busy. The neighbors, seeing my parents determination, wound up rebuilding, too. I’d never been more proud.
The storm took my entire townhouse and my future as I knew it. My dad found out that the (flooded and gutted 3/2 ranch) house (across the street from them) was for sale for 40K. He said “Stacey (or sometimes toots:) if you buy this house I’ll do everything I can to help you rebuild it and you do all you can to help rebuild our house.” Deal!
For the next 2 years we spent countless hours together. My parents wound up buying 2 more gutted houses, as rentals, so I puttied, caulked and painted all of them. The first 8 months my parents lived in the gutted shell of their house as we completely rebuilt my new home. I remember hearing my dad laughing as he’d walk by…seeing me taking up the old tile with a hammer and chisel. He was so proud. Turned out the popcorn compressor (I always called it the wrong name) worked better…but when it would spontaneously start running it always made me jump….then he’d set it outside.
When I came home from a three day trip it would be like Christmas…excitedly waiting to see what my dad had done on the house. He was a perfectionist, with an engineer mind, and could do whatever he set his mind to. My new living room was long, so instead of the 4 recessed lights I was expecting he’d put in 8! Yay!
My dad approached every job with pride and excellence, so when the day came for me to paint my ceiling I knew the standard. Of course the first coat never covers well but by the third coat I was feeling the frustration of not being able to get it right. He kept telling me “You can do it. Just put more paint on the roller.” He didn’t see the shift in my countenance, so when he brought my mom by, to proudly show her my work, instead of seeing proud satisfaction he saw truth…in the silent stream of tears running down my face. In shock, he said “Oh! What’s the matter?” and I replied “It’s too hard. I can’t do it.” He said “I’ll do it! I WANT to do it!” and grabbing the roller finished the job perfectly. Later we laughed about that for years and whenever a tough situation came up we would sarcastically joke “Aww, is it too hard?”
Looking back I see that he showed his love in ways that outnumbered the stars.
The Lord knew the steps He had for us all along and if I could go back to the days of despair I hope I would laugh in faith. Maybe I can try that next time….