Saturday, May 17, 2014


We had worked hard, my husband and I, at ripping out the foul, aged carpet in the living room and replacing it with fresh laminate wood. It was an event the entire family revered. Oh wait—that was just me. I was the giddy one who could see nothing but the future beauty of our labor and my husband could see nothing but the laborious servitude to which he'd been assigned. There were grumpy attitudes, a few slammed doors, and a bit of silent treatment, but we trudged on. And that final piece of the floor puzzle was laid with exhausted smiles. We stood back and gloated at our magnum opus.

But no more than two weeks later, one stubborn plank obnoxiously decided it didn't want to obey. To defy our back-breaking work and obsessive care over detail, it one day protested loudly as I pressed my weight across its face. Squeak. I backed up, stepped again. Did I hear right? My still-fresh labor was working against me? It was the little walkway space between the couch and recliner where the kids barreled through in games of tag or to see what was on the T.V. Of course it couldn't be next to the wall where it wouldn't be heard. I glowered at it from that point on, each time when my foot forgot and provoked its anger.

I wondered what we could do to fix the annoyance, to silence the board that wouldn't blend with the mass. Why does this board refuse to be normal? Why won't it just shut up and lie quietly like the other boards? My mind worked feverishly on a plan to fix this vexation without tearing the entire floor apart. But I knew I was helpless in its resolution and instead resigned myself to tread lightly over the tender plank.

Not even a full month later, I stepped up in bewilderment onto the cement slab of what we had been calling our home for the most of a year. My heart quaked with shock and disbelief. No walls to feel, no front door to open. Just wide open nakedness, ravaged and used. There was no fruit to be seen here. It didn't matter how I had agonized over cornbread yellow or canary yellow paint, over picket fence white or soft white for the kitchen cabinets. It was as if it simply had not happened.

My borrowed sneakers were one size and a half too big, and I clumsily faltered through the waste. The floor transition between the kitchen and living room was barely visible—matted with a mud-insulation-dry wall cocktail—as I made my way toward what was the fireplace wall.


I stopped, cold and still. I slid my feet back, pressed my weight down again.


A chill tickled my spine. It had survived. The thing I hated so much because it wouldn't relent, had survived an EF 5 tornado. The wind that dissolved my painted walls and swept the brick and mortar of our home down the road...had somehow left untouched the floor that was not even glued down. And the one piece that I wanted to tear away was suddenly a lyrical masterpiece to my ear—odd comfort, like a fleece-lined straightjacket.

It didn't make sense, but it survived. Somehow.

I stepped cautiously across it again and again, my ear its captive audience. And each time it squeaked the same as before. Maybe even more than before. I stood in the one place, bouncing up and down now while laughter spilled out from the bruised, broken places within my soul. Wouldn't you know our God has a sense of humor after all? He had been crafting a tiny piece of comfort for the unfamiliar places we'd walk through only weeks later. Of course, I couldn't see it then. All I could see was imperfection—a distraction from the beauty of a masterpiece I so feverishly labored toward. And all the while, He was working on His own masterpiece—one where He would rescue our very lives and put laughter in our lungs.

Isn't it funny how a single, sobering event can brush the disappointment off a circumstance and reveal the treasure underneath?

To think that God cares enough about me that He would use something as silly and minute as a single, squeaky board and that He would allow its preservation just to bring laughter to my tear-drenched lips. 

I think of the stubbornness of that board and I can't help but laugh. Because the board and I, we're a pair and I can see it now. I don't want to blend in. I retract when forced to quiet myself. I'm loud and annoying, persistent and desperate for more. I want to be crafted for His great masterpiece, not someone else's. I want more than my wildest dream could conjure. I want His hand over my head, giving His blessing. I want His wink, His smile that says, “Go ahead and squeak. It's what I made you to do.”

Peace of Christ to you,

1 comment:

  1. I SO love this!! We had our own moments like this as we were in the middle of sprucing up our 1982 built home and our 10 acres when we were hit. As we spent 2.5 hrs. in (mostly) and out of the cellar we finally were resolved to humor to avoid breaking down by tornado #3. We nervously joked about the ceiling fans that wouldn't need to be installed, the paint that wouldn't need to be done, and the blinds that wouldn't need to be hung. A few days after the tornado I told my hubby "You know, I know I was wanting those cedar trees removed from our back fence line, but this really isn't what I had in mind." The big first tornado had taken our 5th wheel and twisted it up in those 20 cedar trees that lined each side of our chain link fence. The fence was ripped out and scattered across our neighbor's pasture. Not exactly what I had envisioned. But now, we have no trees AND a new fence...and a new house, and new stuff. ;) God is good! ;)