Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Egress: The Best Way Out Is Always Through

...the best way out is always through.
-Robert Frost, A Servant to Servants  (1915)

After leaving Guate this past August, we arrived back at S.T.U.B. (Shepherd Transitional Underground Bunker) in the basement of my parent's home and learned that a task awaited us. While working in Labor de Falle I had blogged about digging a pit 1 meter square in order to construct a hypoponic pond. My dad grinned as he said, "since you had such a great experience digging there, I need you to dig a 42" square opening around the basement window." 

STUB had only one way in and one way out... the interior basement stairs. Dad and Mom worried that we had no other exit if the stairs were blocked. Apparently while we were gone, he had formulated a plan. And so... with Guate dirt still in the tread of my boots, I laced them up, pulled on my gloves, snugged my hat on my head and grabbed a shovel. 

Two differences immediately caught my attention: it was 20 degrees hotter and the earth was much harder. I began sweating immediately as the shovel tipped repeatedly bounced up from the rock packed surface surrounding the existing window well. This was not welcome news. Dad asked me if the digging was easier in Guatemala. I said yes.

He handed me a 6 foot iron spud bar and explained that I had to use it to break the surface and then remove the loose dirt and rock with the shovel. It reminded me of the back of a shampoo bottle... rinse, lather, repeat.

Together my father and my son worked alongside me for several days as we removed countless rocks, several over a foot wide and 5 inches thick, and even had to chisel through some because they were too big to remove. We spread over 1000 lbs of gravel and dad drove  8 bolts into the concrete foundation to secure the new wall. Tonight as I write these words, my family rests with better peace of mind knowing that should disaster occur, we are provided with a way out.

The job was tough, but it was beautiful. It was incredible to work alongside my dad and son. I consider this experience to be a treasure that few men get to live. I know that we all will always remember these days. I am so thankful to recognize this treasure that we hold. These moments touch the core of who we were created to be... we walk this earth together.

Dad parking the trailer after we spread the gravel.

Dad & Sterling enjoying the cool evening air.

Mom watches as dad gives wheel-barrow rides!

Aleksandra & Sterling chase Caleb!
Life provides us with these incredible moments to grab ahold of and squeeze to our chests. I can still feel the soft pad of the grass under our feet that night as we ran across the yard and laughed together. Frisbees and balls criss-crossed the yard and gave us reason to hop fences. We wore bug repellent and swatted even still. Life is meant for the bold.

How many times do we count the hours until our day ends? I am aware of the passing of time and the finite measure that I am given. We look forward to the future and at times we can not see the present. The way out is always through, Mr. Frost. And indeed... it is the best way.  It isn't always a question of how deep is the pit, or how hot is the heat. These things are simply part of the transaction of living. The true measure of life is found in how we handle this...

...through part. Whether we pass through digging a ditch or riding in a wheelbarrow... this life is meant to be shared. We must work every day to be present where we are. Wherever you find yourself today... stand.

Stand FOR something! It is too easy and we have too many folks who are willing to tell us what they stand against. We need to make our lives about our beliefs. When people point to us... what do they say? When people talk about you... do they know what you're about?

Yeah sure... life can be tough. It can be unfair... SO WHAT?! I decide that I am not a victim. It isn't about what happens to us... you know... it is about what you do when it happens.

Are you looking for an egress? Keep on pushing through.

Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father...The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

1 John 2:15-17 The Message

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