Monday, December 3, 2007

Riddles in the Dark

What little I've accomplished has been by the most laborious and uphill work, and I wish now I'd never relaxed or looked back - but said at the end of The Great Gatsby: "I've found my line - from now on this comes first. This is my duty - without this I am nothing."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Merry looked out in wonder upon this strange country, of which he had heard many tales upon their long road. It was a skyless world, in which his eye, through dim gulfs of shadowy air, saw only ever-mounting slopes, great walls of stone behind great walls, and frowning precipices wreathed with mist. He sat for a moment half dreaming, listening to the noise of water, the whisper of dark trees, the crack of stone, and the vast waiting silence that brooded behind all sound. He loved mountains, or he had loved the thought of them, marching on the edge of stories brought from far away; but now he was borne down by the insupportable weight of Middle-earth. He longed to shut out the immensity in a quiet room by a fire.
-The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King

One may get the idea, from all the hilarity and frivolity of my blog entries that every day is a wonderful fun-fest, in the marmalade forest between the make believe trees. But, often times, this is far from the case. We have been on one particular job for my entire time at CAP, and it has been properly named, "the never-ending job." Slowly, ever so slowly, we have chipped away at the mighty armor of our foe known as the never ending job. We have done: framing, all the windows, doors, electrical, plumbing, demolition, flooring, drywall, and mudding. And we still have quite a bit left to do. Ross, our crew leader and hero has abandoned us to go to maintenance and all seems dark on these early and cold days. David Frank is leaving on Sunday from our housing crew and we still have much work to be done before Christmas with a smaller crew. I feel much like Merry, longing to shut out the world of politics, drama, and bickering in a quite room by the fire. Part of the reason I came to CAP was to really lay into practical problems, like homelessness, loneliness, and despair in real settings; the unfinished home, the leaky roof, the poorly insulated walls. Like Fitzgerald, I long to lay all of my force into a task; helping people stay warmer, drier, happier. But now, I am indeed born down by the weight of Middle-Earth. Much of my time so far has been spent trying to figure out things on my own. Ross would say, "you just want to...blah blah blah" and I'd try to do it (often with mixed results). And, it has been a trying learning experience, to say the least. We, as volunteers, rely so heavily on a daily basis on prayer and union with Christ's cross. The cross itself acting as a powerful multifaceted reality, both as a path to glory and all good things, but also, at times, a backbreaking burden.
A small glimmer of hope has peeked into our tiny world. Mr. and Mrs. Black, long time friends and volunteers with CAP have ventured to us to help with our absence of a crew leader. The Blacks are amazing people. Mr. Black has worked all his life as a contractor, which rules. He has already set a lofty goal for Monica and I; remodeling the entire kitchen - cabinets, sink, a new wall...everything. He also plans on finishing the entire kitchen tomorrow. I told him I'd give it the old "college try." While I do think his ambition a bit too lofty, I welcome the challenge, and delight in the possibility. We are so glad to have them, because they can focus our efforts and keep us working toward our matter how far off it may be. To have a focus, even if it seem distant, perhaps on a far-off horizon, keeps our feet moving despite the burden.


"Do you know why dragons like gold? Because they can sleep on it, it makes a nice bed. Didn't you know that. That is the only reason they horde gold, so they can sleep on it. Come on, you know this!"

-David Frank


Anonymous said...

Could it be that "CAP is but a micro-cosym of real life"?
Losing our heros, especially in the middle of a big battle, is indeed tough.
But the battle rages, so pick up the sword, sorry, hammer, and keep swinging it, for the sanctity of the task remains, the people are in need and you are one of the Kings bearing great gifts.

a.e. nee said...

you're a good egg andy

John said...

Ok, this probably seems like a really trivial and somewhat selfish compared to your post...but I think you should do the Columbus Half. We're probably going to have at least 20 people...if not more. Think about it. And basically, if you do it...I do it. At the moment, I am a firmly entrenched undecided. I do know if I could run another without my Sam. =\