How to Move a Mountain

Posted by on August 5, 2005

Since I’m a pastor and “weekend projects” no longer make a whole lot of sense, I’ve been making it a tradition to do some big house project during a week of my summer vacation. So far, I’ve been doing a fine job of picking what will be the hottest weeks in Sacramento, but that’s OK. Heck, it’s just a week, right?

Anyway, this year, I decided to put sprinklers in the front yard. The yard has all kinds of small areas separated from each other by the front sidewalk, a walkway, the side of the house (we’re on a corner), and our front path. All in all, there are about six little patches of grass to water. So we never get it done. You just have to move the hose too many times. If I wanted a green and healthy lawn, sprinklers were the way to go.

No problem, right? We even have sandy soil so the digging isn’t too bad.

Well, on day one, my dad and I managed to put a tiny nick in the water main so I had an extra project to replace that and rebuild the nearly-blocked galvanized pipe fittings that go into the house. Oops!

Then I found that there were a lot of roots in the soil I was planning to cut through. And the sod (held together by bermuda grass and weed roots) was really tough. And did I mention that it was hot?

Well, the job was going much more slowly than I had hoped. I started to get discouraged. I wished I hadn’t started it. This was going to take up my whole vacation, and then I still won’t have sprinklers.

Our yard, dug up for sprinkler pipes

But on Wednesday of that same week, Eleanor held a church small group meeting at our house, and one of the group members mentioned that her husband used to have a side business installing sprinklers. “Bruce can come and help you,” she told me. “Great,” I replied. People say that stuff all the time, but it never happens.

Anyway, the next day, Bruce called. “Do you need help? I can come over after work.” And he showed up! My dad also called that day and offered to help.

By the end of the evening, I had a number of pipes laid and cemented! It was like a breath of new life!

Bruce and my dad hadn’t been in on the discouragement so they came at the project with fresh eyes and a good attitude. And it was contagious!

It seems clear to me that we’re not intended to live alone, struggling to get through anything that may hit us. Funny that Eleanor’s small group – a form of intentional community – was part of the solution to my own self-imposed isolation…

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1

I guess if you want to move a mountain, all you need is enough good friends!

(Oh yeah, I did eventually finish. It’s all done but the timer now, and the grass is beginning to green up!)

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