Business As Usual

Ours is a business relationship, but he drives me crazy. I don’t do business. I do relationship.

He made me cry tonight. The light over my desk brought me to tears. I didn’t know he cared – that anyone cared that much about what I do. He is our building contractor for the bathroom, right? That should be his focus; his “job”, as he keeps saying, adding with bravado, “And to make the homeowner happy!”

He is a builder, but a different kind than most folks hire. “I’m buildin’ stairways to the Kingdom of God!” That’s when my husband invited the man he had hired to follow him up the stairs to the unfinished project in our bathroom. He smiled. No apology whatsoever. Just a lot of humility as he lumbered up the stairs behind the disgruntled homeowner.

Most customers wouldn’t put up with his way-out-of-line, over-the-top evangelism like I do. I get it. He knows that. All he had to do was take a look at my office where he put in the light over my desk.

I told him to call me before he came. I intended to pay him for the side-job, and wanted to move the journals, Bibles, God-notes, and Scripture-scribbles before he started hammering.

“I need to find some strong double-stick tape,” he had said, hip leaning against his big maroon diesel truck. I could hear that truck every time it chugged around the corner of our neighborhood, loud enough to be coming for me from eternity. The back end of it was strewn with the legs of a charcoal grill, some rusted door handles, two or three drills, and remnants of jobs all entwined by various colored electrical cords. The season-worn, ragged-edged Bible, some four inches thick, sat like an old friend on the passenger side of the truck, next to empty soda cups and coffee mugs.

I’d had a feeling he was onto something about God’s truths not sticking good on some people. “See, I can put them there screws that came with the package of lights up in the top of the shelf. But see…”

Sure enough, here it came – nothing to do with those lights or the bathroom or anything else, other than God.

“It’s like the Word of God…”  Yep, he was on a roll, his voice booming.

“See – some people, they think they know the Bible. They go around thinking everything’s gonna stick; they’re safe, they’re going to heaven. Then they go and do something stupid like get a girl pregnant, leave her out there in the world. Or they hide their problems in liquor or drugs, and they steal things, tell lies, like those politicians….”

Just stop! Not the political lecture again. I knew people weren’t as good they try to look. They’re just as selfish and wrong as I am every day, even though – he had seen it in my office for himself – I read the Bible and I try to write God stories. He didn’t need to go off again about the world falling away.  I’m tired of trying, failing, and condemning myself. I didn’t want to hear anymore from him. God was hard enough.

Just fix my light, if you have time. I’ll pay you extra.

“I was thinkin’ last night, when I couldn’t sleep… by the way, did I tell you my shoulder’s been bother’n me?”

About ten times.

“Anyway. If I just put that light up with those package screws, who knows when they’ll let loose? You can’t trust the package stuff!” He looked at me. I knew his skin was trembling – he’d mentioned that before when some truth was coming on.

“See… it’s like the Word of God.” Hitching his belt and smiling, resemblng (by a long stretch) Kevin Costner, this contractor hired to renovate our master bathroom, looked at me deep, “You can’t fake it.”

He left, whistling a Sunday School favorite – “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” I swear he was skipping like a kid.

Evidently when I was out, my contractor found the tape of his dreams, made his way into my office, moved aside my Synonym Finder, Melon Mint Faith candle, and inspirational sticky notes, then screwed through my steel-plastic desk board (it was impenetrable, believe me), double-stick taped the LED board, and plugged it into the outlet behind the stationary wall cabinet to give me light.

I’m sure he’ll charge me.

Nevertheless, here I am under the light. Hopefully, my contractor is getting a good night’s sleep.

See, he was right. The Light is here to stay.

“…let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)