It's 4:30 AM here in southern Indiana. I've been up for a little while now and am just starting on my 2nd cup of coffee. I woke up at 3:13 AM and just knew I was all done sleeping. Sometimes you just know the moment you open your eyes that it's time to get up and get going. So, that's what I did. I got up, got dressed and took a drive over to the house just to be there in the silent stillness. Ann and I had been over there yesterday afternoon talking about some plans and I wanted to go back and give it some more thought without the kids and the dogs and all of that. As I walked around re-visiting all that Ann and I had talked about I couldn't help but think about all the people that had walked where I was walking and all the hard work it took for them to give us this house that is now ours.
In the mid 1850's it was no easy task to build a house but here it is and I am so thankful that they worked so hard and I think of them everytime I pick up a hammer. But the thing I think I'm most thankful about is that fact that I have the skills necessary to be part of saving this place and making it what it was built to be, a home.
As many of you know my most recent job was being part of a management team for a chemical company in California. I'd been with the company for several years and part of the leadership team for the last 3 years. So "swinging a hammer" wasn't exactly part of my daily routine. Swinging a coffee cup, swinging a phone, swinging a sandwich from Specialty's Deli was very much a part of my day but not a whole lot of work that made my arms hurt. So when we got here and I had to do one of the first tasks necessary to get water to the house, I was not prepared by any wild stretch of the imagination. What was the task? I had to dig a hole. Yep, dig a hole. Long story short... I sort of got it dug (through roots, rocks, pieces of brick, old wood etc) but in the end I worked with someone to find a better way... That's a skill I am WAY better at. Anyway, all of these things I am doing now on a daily basis have taken me back to when I was growing up and reminded me just how much knowledge my Dad shared with me along the way.
I can't tell you how many times I remember crawling under a house or a car when I was a kid. I know that it wasn't all that my Dad and I did but looking back it sure seems like we did it a lot. On the weekends there was always some task that needed to be done. I'm not sure if stuff really needed to be done or if my Mom just made stuff up to keep my Dad and I out of trouble but however it happened there was work to be done.
Where I grew up there were a lot of people who had small farms and ranches or just had "property." That meant that there was stuff that always needed attention. We had a little over an acre and on it was our house and a rental house. That doubled my chances to learn home improvement skills. My Dad wasn't one to hire someone to do something. He would either do it all by himself or, in the case of electrical work, he would get one of his friends who was an electrician to come over and show him how to do it. That way he could do it himself the next time. And, whatever he watched... I watched.
Walking around the house this morning I realized just what a blessing it was that my Dad let me be part of all those projects. When I look at my house now and think about re-wiring it, I do it with confidence and the knowledge that because I was allowed to be part of those projects growing up that I can share that with my family. The other thing that really struck me this morning was that no amount of formal education will ever give me the skills necessary to benefit others as much as the life skills I learned as a kid. If our government collapsed tomorrow I have the skills to lead my family and help others survive as a result of things I learned from my Dad. So this morning, there in the quiet, I thanked God for the amazing house and for having someone teach me everything I need to keep it alive for another 155 years.