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Blogging New Orleans, Part IV

October 23, 2008

Scott began the “tales of our day” portion of worship last night with a story of humility.  He explained how he and Carty had been assigned the hanging of the drywall in a small bathroom.  Since both are strong, macho men, Scott had anticipated rapid mastery of their task.  “I thought we could knock that out in about an hour,” he said.

 Frustrations followed.  No matter how they tried, they just couldn’t get it right.  Carty said, “After four hours, we pretty much had it all done, but then we realized that in the bathroom, we had to use the blue (moisture-resistant) board.  So we took it down and started over.  We had one piece completely up, but we discovered we had put it wrong side out.  We removed that and turned it over, but then, of course, it didn’t fit!”

Scott felt very humbled at his failure to meet his earlier macho-man expectations. But during their shared struggles, Scott and Carty enjoyed each others’ companionship, and as the day progressed, they developed a warm bond, making it all worthwhile.  And they did finish the bathroom!

Dawn began her tale by complimenting Laura, a member of her team whose first piece of drywall, Dawn recounted with admiration, fit perfectly!  Laura humbly countered that the reality was that “It was the first piece I ever got to fit!”

We have all have been humbled by our challenges to complete tasks that far exceed our level of expertise.  With the huge exception of Scott W., who knows how to do everything, the rest of us struggle to make our work even half-way acceptable.  “Allison commented, “I know it’s going to be somebody’s house, and I really want it to look right!”

When Jill’s turn came, she put things in perspective.  We have gotten to know Jill as a quiet, self-deprecating person who is a marvelous listener and friend.  But she feels terribly inadequate as she struggles with her assigned duties.  We observe Jill’s work, and we reassure her that it’s just as good, if not better, than ours, but Jill is never satisfied. 

But as she continued her tale of her day, admitting her frustrations, she said she had finally achieved a sort of epiphany.  She remembered a plaque she has up in her home, with the quote “The forest would be a very silent place, if only the very talented birds sang.”

So we undertake today’s work with a new sense of purpose, realizing that though we’re not professionals, each of us has something to contribute.  We’ll be singing along with those birds who might be slightly off-key!