Tales from the Great Adventure

a journal of living-like-we-mean-it, by Derek Maul

IMG_0283I’m sharing three fairly mundane looking photos this morning for a change of pace. Not a break from the discipline of journeying through Lent, just a different take for today.

They are, in order of appearance:

  • fresh paint on some handrails,
  • a towel rack, and
  • a really good meal.

HANDRAIL: First, I put in several hours of painting Saturday afternoon, trying to finish off the handrails on the front stoop. I primed them back in November, but it’s been too cold and too rainy for exterior painting so I had to wait for an opportune moment. At 65-degrees and clear, that moment wasn’t going to last for long.

Even though I was ready, I still had to sand, and clean, and tape off before I could start. The work was tedious, and it was nit-picky, but if I’d skipped the grind I’d have wasted my time with the paint. I can’t stand doing all the prep; but then I love the feeling of a good task well done. Sometimes I wonder how often I have to learn the same lesson.

Pretty much anything worthwhile costs something.

IMG_0285TOWEL RACK: Meanwhile, Rebekah was putting in a new towel rack. I’m one of those jerk the towel off the wall when I should have been lifting it people, so – after hundreds of small, incremental breakdowns in the fastenings – the old one eventually came down with a lot of noise. It was in the middle of the night, of course, the heavy metal rack landing on top of a porcelain toilet – timed for maximum disruptive effect.

So Rebekah patched, spackled, measured, drilled, and secured. The new towel rack is more sturdy, more useful, more attractive, and more up to date. The unfortunate holes I had made in the wall may have been inconvenient and avoidable, but now we’ve got something much better in place. It turns out the old system was shoddy from the get go, and it really was past time for a change.

IMG_0279YUM! Finally, the meal I cooked Thursday evening brought together a combination of flavors I’d never tried before. Broiled salmon drizzled with wine, garlic, lemon, butter, and seasoned salt; fresh green beans; baked sweet potatoes; and a fresh herb salad with feta, grape tomatoes, pine-nuts, and a light balsamic dressing.

My point is that I had gone back to the cookbook again. Using great ideas from other people makes me a better cook. There is always so much new stuff to learn, so much I don’t know, and always room to grow.

HUMILITY: So the idea behind these three photographs is a reminder that even inspired creativity requires careful preparation, research, humility, and hard work to pull off.

We live in a culture where people spend so much effort trying to prove that they are right, insisting that we don’t need to work together, and that they have nothing to learn from those with differing ideas. That is so shortsighted, so unAmerican, so academically stifling, so uncreative, and so contrary to God’s way. We all have pretty-much everything to learn, and there is always far more that we don’t know than what we do.

Rebekah and I live rich, creative lives. But we’re still learning, we’re not done growing, we’re thankful for the opportunity to  continually be challenged, we’re wearing ourselves out… and we’re having a blast doing it!

– DEREK

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