“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Psalm 27:1
As soon as I knew the date my husband was set to deploy, I started a countdown for Texas-trip. I knew I’d be somewhat overwhelmed with a high-strung toddler, an expanding belly, and a new military setting. Grandparents needed some baby cheek-kissing time, and I needed some good Tex-Mex and the rest that comes from being with people who love me. Why not squeeze in an Aggie pilgrimage/ early college visit? It was time to head to Texas.
Let’s just say, this has not been the relaxing vacation I had envisioned. Still, some of the best family bonding happens through adversity. Take action movies for instance; after some high-stress ordeal full of adrenaline, the main characters share a kiss (or more) as if solid relationships depend on a hijacking or hostage situation. Why speed date when you can drive a bus over 65 miles an hour? However, I will concede that not blowing up is helpful when forming long-term relationships.
I arrived to ecstatic parents who were embarking on a great journey—building a custom home. We had hoped that the house would be completed by the visit, but it turned out the move would take place during my visit. Then things got…interesting. Here is a little highlight of events.
1) New renters wanted to move in two weeks early, so my parents were ‘excused’ to allow 65 year old sisters and their mother lease the house for 5 years. The builders lost 2 weeks of time and my parents now had to pack while working full time.
2) During nap times and breaks, the three of us packed and moved ourselves into an unfinished home.
3) The cleaners contracted for the move-out cleaning did not keep the appointment on two separate days, forcing my mother to clean for 6 hours alone while Dad worked at the new house.
4) Internet and phone service fiascos left us without any connections and spotty cell service for almost a week.
5) The contractors seem to think appointments are optional and that tomorrow is soon enough.
6) After the movers hauled the furniture, damaging nearly every piece and the new hardwoods, it seems the only box they packed- which contained a dresser drawer full of valuables- is missing. The hole in our dresser gapes open to remind us that the good jewelry is apparently buried in a box somewhere that we just can’t find…but they’ll get back to us.
The list goes on, but that sums up the past week.
Meticulous planning has gone into the building of this house and it is almost complete. My poor parents have worked like Spartans in the face of unbelievable frustrations. Although I am resting and eating extremely well, I spend most of my time helping with the house, boxes, and caring for my little buddy. Needless to say, I have not been able to write for a few days. I will catch up soon but for now this house is established on hard work and helping one another. The multi-generational teamwork is essential to family love and crisis survival; their kid has come home to help, they help me with the baby, and they spend evenings enjoying baby giggles and chasing a caped boy-wonder around a semi-construction zone.
The lack of integrity and commitment I’ve seen this week has been remarkable. The love and teamwork I’ve seen has been equally impressive. I’ve always been told that the family that prays together stays together. In that case, we’re stuck for life; buried voices from garages, closets, and attic spaces have called out, “Dear Lord! Come quickly!” quite a bit lately.
With that said, it may be time to take a literal view of scripture: Unless the Lord builds the house, it does seem to be in vain. I just didn’t think he had to come and personally build it. When this is all done, it truly will be a miracle. If there’s anything we know from the Bible, it’s that miracles should be commemorated with feasting. Time for Tex-Mex and Blue Bell ice cream. God Bless Texas.