Go Build Something

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Whew! I'm tired.

All day today I helped with the renovation process at an elementary school not far from our house. My husband has been there all week, and today I left my desk and my computer and joined him in the labor.

And I'm tired.

Now, I'm not new to the construction world. My parents own several rental properties, and when I was a kid, I often spent weekends and summers helping my dad paint, build porches, and just generally fix whatever needed fixing. And a few weeks after Mark and I got married, we started our first do-it-yourself project. One that spawned six years of almost non-stop home projects: including the complete renovation of an old home from the studs out.

Of course, as familiar as I might be with a construction site, I am an editor. I did not choose a career as a builder. But I have to admit - as much as I love what I do - sometimes I just want to shut off my computer, slide my chair under the desk, turn out the lights and go build something.

Do you ever feel that way?

There's just something about using my hands; about starting with a bunch of pieces and then putting them together to create a new thing. It's so physical, so tangible. To see progress happening right there in front of me. To see a space take shape.

Today I helped build a room. Really. I cut and hung dry wall around a classroom. Someday that room will be filled with kids studying English. (Maybe not English, but that would have such a great feeling of symmetry, don't you think? So that's how I'm going to imagine it.) So these kids are studying English - reading great stories - in a room that I helped to build. That's so cool.

I like to think of Jesus as a carpenter, working in his father's shop. I imagine the lessons he must have learned from that craft: patience, diligence, precision. I picture his look of satisfaction as he steps back and surveys a well-crafted piece of furniture he has finished.

In a world of throw-away media - television, newspapers, email, magazines, and yes, unfortunately, blog posts - where the newest thing is only minutes away and yesterday's news is ancient news?it's nice to be part of creating something that will be here for generations.

I love what I do, and ultimately my gift is in putting words together, not houses. But I think I'll always have that need to just go build something.

I'm really tired, but it's that good kind of tired. That satisfied feeling after a hard day's work.

So what gives you that great feeling of happy-tired? What satisfies your need to just go build something?

June 27, 2008 at 8:09 PM

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