As I expected, Mike Russell at Eternal Perspectives has started to come out of the other side of his journey through the “Dark Night of the Soul”. There are only two branches on that road and Mike did not disappear into hopelessness, no matter how close he may have felt he was to the edge of the cliff. In becoming accustomed again to the brighter light, he noted an interesting scripture that has slipped my notice for the longest time—Paul’s advice in 1 Thessalonians 4.11:
…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands… 1 Thessalonians 4:11
That is an interesting scripture, especially since I have spent the last two + months remodeling my father’s house for my sister and her family to live with him. I have been working with my hands a lot. There is something fundamentally satisfying about using your hands. I know, being reformed, that it was no accident that Jesus chose carpentry as his profession. It required you work your hands hard, very hard. In his day everything was done by hand and tools were entirely hand powered.
I would say, that after spending the last fifteen or so years writing and training people, it has felt good getting my hands dirty again (I was a contractor for almost 15 years before I became a technical writer). The last two days I have been mudding drywall. Outside corners are tough, especially the ones on drywalled doorways.
I am coming down to the wire. I pick up a U-Haul trailer on Sunday (later today) and leave early Tuesday morning to return home. I stayed four weeks longer than originally anticipated and I could stay four more, but I have two job interviews next week (Wednesday and Thursday—all prayers appreciated) and my wife misses me. I promised I would be home for Christmas.
So, live quietly, don’t be a busybody, and get your hands dirty. Sounds like good advice. It has worked for me the last ten weeks or so. I will say one thing though; working with your hands (and the rest of your body which of course is attached) does fill one with aches and pains, sometimes making it difficult to stand erect in the morning, at least for the first ten minutes or so. One could almost argue that unless you enjoy muscle soreness and pain, especially leg cramping (ask any athlete), this taking on hand work again at 58 is a little foolhardy. However, it has been very good for my soul, my familial relationships, and my outlook on the future.
God knows what he is doing and enabling me to do this was one of his wise decisions (I know that is a given, but we need to notice once in a while that he does know what he is doing with our lives). I have also spent a lot of time with my 82 (soon to be 83) year old father. He has never been one to open up on more than a surface level but still, sometimes just being there is enough and I thank God for the opportunity.
May God bless you this Lord’s day and may grace and peace be your companions throughout the day.