Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Do-It-Yourself Project

I’m one of those people who likes to see if I can fix something myself before I call on a professional to do it. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I’m not, but I give it my best shot before I give in and admit I’m in over my head. My friend, Jan, and I have done quite a few do-it-yourself projects in the past. It’s a wonder I’m still alive to tell about it. We came close to killing ourselves a couple of times.

Once I had brand new carpet installed in my living room. After the workers had gone I noticed my front door was hard to open and close. The bottom of the door needed to be trimmed down a bit, so I called Jan over and she brought over her very own power saw. We both agreed it seemed like an easy job. I didn’t even use a measuring tape to determine how much needed to be cut off the door. I just basically put my thumb down between the door and the carpet and eyeballed the thing. Then we took the door off its hinges and took it out on my front porch. We laid it across an old table and I held it while Jan operated the power saw. It was her saw so she was in charge of operating it. I wanted to have a go, but she insisted she was better skilled for using the saw and didn’t want to be held responsible for me cutting off a limb.

I held the door as best as I could, but it kept sliding around when she tried to saw the bottom off. It was then that she suggested I lie across the door to hold it still. Now this didn’t sound like such a good idea to me, but Jan assured me she knew what she was doing and she would be very careful. After giving the matter some thought, I decided it was the only way the job was going to get done and sacrificed myself by throwing my body across the door, holding on for dear life. 

Jan started up the power saw again and started cutting. Sparks were flying all around me, so I closed my eyes and prayed. After a few minutes I heard this weird noise like something had gone wrong. I happened to look up just in time to see the blade of the saw skid away from the bottom and up the face of the door toward me.

“Oops!” said Jan. “Sorry, it got away from me.”

 “What do you mean it got away from you?” I screamed, jumping off the door. “You could have cut me in half. I thought you said you know what you are doing.”

“I do, but this door is heavy and it takes a lot of pressure to cut through it. I just pushed too hard,” explained Jan.

Believe it or not I actually climbed back on the door while Jan continued cutting. I prayed even harder this time. I know God looks down from heaven sometimes and says, “Okay angels, I’m going to need a double shift today. Polly is trying to fix something herself.”

At last, after only a couple of hours, we managed to get the door trimmed and back on its hinges. It looked pretty good too, except for the big cut mark going up the front of the door. I painted it and you could hardly see it. We were so proud of our job.

Another time I was trying to remove a broken knob on my tub. I had already purchased a new knob and it seemed like a simple job. However, while trying to undo the screw that was holding the knob in place I accidentally stripped it clean so that you could not get it off no matter what. Suddenly I had a brilliant idea, as I so often do, and I grabbed my hammer from my tool box. It’s my noted opinion that you can repair almost anything with a good hammer. If it doesn’t work, give it a good whack with your hammer. I’ve had some luck with this in the past. I got in the tub and gently whacked the knob with my hammer, hoping to break it away from the screw. However, the knob didn’t break or budge. 

Robbie Lee was downstairs and she knows me well enough to know I was up to no good. “What’s going on up there?” she yelled.

“I’m trying to knock this knob off with my hammer,” I yelled back.

“Why don’t you just call Ron to fix it for you?” Robbie Lee yelled again.

“I can do this myself,” I yelled down with confidence. “There’s no need to bother Ron with this.” With that I gave it another harder whack this time, but nothing happened.

“You’d better just call Ron,” yelled Robbie Lee.

I didn’t answer this time. Instead I swung the hammer a bit harder, but the stubborn knob didn’t budge. I finally decided to throw my hammer back in the tool box and try something different later. As I turned on the water just to make sure everything was still working, I
noticed there was no hot water. There was hot water before I whacked it with the hammer.

“Oh, no,” I said. “I’ve done it now.”

 “Why is it so quiet up there?” asked Robbie Lee. 

“Call Ron,” I yelled back. 

“Why?” asked Robbie Lee. “What did you do?” 

“Just call Ron, please,” I yelled back. “Just call him and ask him to come over as quickly as possible.” 

Of course, Ron came right over, but now the simple job had turned into a more complicated job because of my handy work. Apparently, when I whacked the knob with my hammer I broke the fragile little thing that controls the hot water. Fortunately, Ron is a professional and he knew what needed to be done. He was able to fix the problem that same day. I wished I had called him in the first place. I learned not everything can be fixed with the whack of a hammer. Sometimes you need a professional.

I don’t mind do-it-yourself projects, but it’s also wise to know when to turn the job over to someone else who knows what he or she is doing. I’ve spent hours fooling around with plumbing repairs, appliance repairs, and many other do-it-yourself projects, only to still have to call out a professional to finish the job. Usually I’ve done more damage by fooling with it myself and it ends up costing me more than it would have if I had just called the right folks in the first place.

It’s good to know we don’t have to do life alone. God is always right there. We may feel like we are alone sometimes, but He is always close by. Often we try to fix things that are broken in our lives without any help from God or anyone else. We give God certain areas for Him to fix, but we save the hardest ones for ourselves. We whack at the problem with whatever we have in our hands. Then we cry and worry until we find we have only made the problem worse. Only then do we finally call on God and hand the problem over to Him. God wants us to trust and lean on Him, even beyond all our own understanding.

In today’s world we usually see it as a sign of weakness if we need help, but it’s actually a sign of strength to recognize when we need assistance and seek it out. It’s so important to surround ourselves with godly friends who will speak into our lives and be there when the times are hard. We should also make sure we are that kind of friend to others.

If we talk to God daily, we can lean on Him as a close friend instead of making Him our last resort. Life was never intended to be a do-it- yourself project. Go ahead, call on Him first. He’s a professional.

Excerpt from "Life is a Buffet So What's On Your Plate?" Copyright © by Polly D. Boyette 2009 All Rights Reserved.

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