shigeko had been asking me to change the door knobs of the master bedroom and bathroom for sometime. my selective hearing delay disorder (SHDD) kept me from fulfilling the request until, somehow, a crack in my thick skull got wide enough for me to finally respond. I went to the local hardware store, bought the knobs, returned home and replaced the defective knobs with the new ones.
done deal, right? not quite. you see, the first knob went in just fine, but the second knob, due to the poor craftsmanship of the cookie-cutter housing fellahs who installed the original knobs, didn't. long story short: i had to chisel a hole in the door jamb so that the bolt of the new knob would line up with it. needless to say, the work looked like sh#@*! when shigeko got home, here's how the dialogue went:
"So what do you think?"
"That? Oh, that's what the cookie-cutter guys did..."
"I don't think so. That hole looks new...and ugly."
"What's so ugly about it?"
"Do i need to describe the obvious?"
And from here it was all down hill.
"Well, why don't you do it next time?"
"Next time i'll hire a professional."
needless to say, with that last sentence from my wife, all the blood rushed out of my brain and into my face—my proud, sullen, arrogant, "that's not fair" face.
"Ok, then why don't you hire a professional to fix the gate in the backyard!"
you see, i was also asked to fix the dilapidated gate in the backyard some time ago, but due to SHDD i had just started on that project as well. well, just as the words were released from my mouth, i had a slight conviction that i was going down the broad slippery road to destruction. no more words were exchanged between the two of us. i just stood there on the apex between the flames of heaven and the flames of hell. fortunately for me, by the sheer grace of God, i chose the flames of heaven—i prefer being saved as by holy fire instead of the outer flaming darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
i knew what i had to do. since I had the materials and tools to begin work on the gate, i would do that and would purchase the stuff to patch up the terrible knob job at another time. so, i went into the garage to get the necessary tools to fix the gate. after plowing through a mountain of junk (since moving from our swiss avenue office, my garage has become the storage unit for all the stuff from the office), i found what i was looking for and pressed the garage door button to close it. the next instant i unexpectedly heard a loud "boom!" for some reason, the garage door became a living demon of twisted arms (i.e., the rails), disheveled scales (i.e., the lopsided, sections of the door itself), uncoiled sinews (i.e., the lift cables) and hideous decayed teeth (i.e., the rollers) both hanging and falling from their greasy sockets. i stood before the beast unable to move. how could the Lord allow this monstrous failure to assault my life on the heels of the door knob fiasco? For an instant i felt like unsheathing my sword (i.e., grabbing a sledge hammer) and commence in the utter destruction of the fell beast with all my pent up rage. but something stayed my arm. was it fear? no, i was fearless in my wrath. whatever it was it began to spread throughout my person and i soon found myself laughing at myself. it was a joke and the joke was on me...no, the joke was me. just as with the knob, my fault found its source in viewing the source of my worth in the work of my own hands and how that work was perceived by myself and others. the Lord, God love him, was unwilling to nurse my madness by allowing me to go from one state of insanity to another without making me see my folly. rather than pouring ice on my heat, he poured gasoline on it in the form of a garage door monster run amuck. yes, i chose the flames of heaven the first time, but was it truly my choice or one simply out of habit? the second test revealed that it was the latter.
"ok, Lord, i see my fault. forgive me for my foolishness. forgive me for measuring my worth by the work of my hands. now let the work of my hands, come failure or success, find their worth in the work of yours. i'm not sure how or if i can fix this fell beast, but i will try one step at a time." and so i tackled the beast, and within an hour or so, miracle of miracles, i pushed the garage door opener and up rose the door without a hitch. later on i told the story to shigeko (actually, it was more of a confession) and she laughed with me at the Lord's humorous way of humbling and uplifting me at the same time.
pray that the Lord would continue to knock the SHDD out of me and replace it with his humility and grace.