I just looked off the deck and saw somebody cracked it.
Not the deck. A brick.
And not just any brick. It’s a commemorative brick from the old school/makeshift church auditorium where I spent my childhood Sundays, the place our wedding reception was held.
As a brand new third grade teacher I painted a picture of that school on about fifty of those bricks as a fundraiser. We sold them for ten bucks a brick for missions. My Granny gave us that brick. She and Granddaddy had bought one from my third graders.
And now one of my kids broke it.
My first instinct was to yell at somebody. Set everybody down and demand who done it.
And then resignation. It is what it is. We can glue it. No sense yelling.
I remember back as a high school senior, the shock when a clumsy elementary kid somehow stuck a chair leg through a portrait I’d worked on for a local museum.
The agony this past summer when months, years of work apparently died inside the clanking innards of a crashed external hard drive.
And it dawns on me. What work isn’t fragile?
The farmer breaks himself over stubborn bolts and rock-riddled furrows, all the while knowing a dry spring or a wet summer can waste it all.
The lady of the house scrubs the floors like a dazed warrior, knowing time and traffic will quickly erase her efforts, but daring them to try before it’s dry.
The sleepwalker bends over the tiny form and changes the diaper that’s sure to be dirty again before she’s had her coffee, but she does it anyway and shuffles him back to his crib.
What work isn’t fragile? Maybe the Almighty made it that way so we’ll consider how feeble our efforts really are. Faithful is He that calls us, who also will do whatever it is He lets us think we’re doing. He makes the harvest. He helps the house look nice for company. He provides the diapers and the strength to change them at 2:43am.
He plants the desire to tackle that bolt with bulldog tenacity. He rewards that sleepy mama with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
So I’ll glue my brick back together, knowing it’ll break again at some point. And I’ll enjoy it while it lasts, like I enjoyed painting it.
Work is a gift. Not just the fruits, but the act itself. In all labour there is profit, even when the fall of man smashes my masterpiece.
And when my work feels fruitless, I need to rest and know that He is God.
And it shall be well.