Monday, October 20, 2008

The Cathedral

An e-mail today portrayed mothers as builders of cathedrals.  The children and grandchildren and their children after them are built from her gifts of love—the mundane details performed endlessly—(and sometimes mindlessly, let’s face it).  The never—absolutely NEVER-ending laundry, the meals, the dirty dishes, the dirty floors, the boo boos, the missing books, the misplaced baseball uniform, the forgotten library books . . . Mothers take care of these details.

I sent that e-mail to my girls and to a friend who is a teacher.  She is “mom” to an entire English class.  She responded and told me that today she had not been a mom to anyone, but rather a stressed out lady who was dealing with some agitated teenagers.  It is difficult to feel that one is “building” anything of value when the messes seem bigger than the progress.  That happens in any building project.  Get out the broom, sweep up the mess, and get reorganized.

We have been in the process of finishing out a room that we started remodeling a couple of years ago.  Yes, we are slow to get back around to some things.  Even so, this room is going to be beautiful despite its intended purpose.  I wanted wood instead of sheet rock, and the beaded pine is lovely.  If Fang will quit getting scratched up and bleeding on it, it won’t be difficult to varnish out to keep it from getting stained.  He has me doing the ups and the downs—climbing and squatting to put the screws in the top and bottom.  Today he yelled at me that he was ready for me to come in the room and do some screwing.  I had to laugh.  The window was open, and the back door neighbor was out in her yard.  She must think we are really pretty spry for our age.

Some of our friends think that we do remodeling for a hobby.  As long as it has taken us to finish most of the house, it could be that they are correct.  But I saw a commercial on TV this evening that reminded me that more families are beginning to find things to do together.  We don’t have to go somewhere or make a big deal out of ‘having’ things to have some plain old-fashioned fun.  I remember sitting on the wooden ice cream freezer while Daddy cranked the handle.  And I felt needed when he had me stand around with the staples to hand him when he was building fence.  Little things can make a big difference when we are building cathedrals.

Our daughter and her family visited the Winchester House in San Jose, California.  It seems that Sarah Winchester believed that she would live as long as she was “building” on her house.  It was unfortunate that she thought of her house as the thing she should be building, but I suppose the workmen who continued to be employed didn’t mind.  But a lesson in her life is not too difficult to discern.  With her resources she could have built many houses—not for herself, but for those who needed them.  She could have furnished an entire village and given the children lessons from her own hands.  Instead of being a widow who had also lost her daughter, she could have had a family of children and friends.  Instead of leaving a silly house for gawking tourists, she could have built a future for generations.

In a couple of weeks there won’t be much more sawdust to track through our living room—I hope.  We will be thinking of Thanksgiving plans and our children.  But this meal together as a family is just one more beam raised for the supports in our cathedral.  We won’t live to see our grandchildren bring their families together before God to thank Him for His blessings.  But we will build just as diligently because He sees the builders and knows the love we give in our hearts.  These children and grandchildren have been given to build His cathedral.  Praise God.

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