Replacing Old with New

This past week has been fun AND a lot of hard work. I know that fun and hard work don’t often go together. Before that will make sense, I need to fill in you on some background details.

My wife, Linda, is a school teacher a small Christian school in Bellflower. There’s not a lot of money for upgrades in this school. In Linda’s classroom was an old cabinet that someone built years ago. It had big pull out drawers that she could use to hold posters and other large items that are needed for bulletin boards in the classroom. But the drawers didn’t work very well and the sliding doors in front of the drawers were always a hassle. Basically the cabinet was so hard to use that Linda didn’t use it.

Enter my father, the master craftsmen. He wanted to make a new cabinet for her that would be easier to use and maybe even look a little better too. The problem is my Dad lives in Tennessee. Yup, that means his shop and all his cool woodworking tools are in Tennessee too. My limited tools certainly were not up to the task of making a quality piece of furniture. That didn’t stop my dad. He had me take some measurements and then he cut the parts for the drawers at home in his shop and sent them to me. The plan was he could cut the parts that I didn’t have to tools to do and that we could assemble the drawers here and build the carcass of the cabinet. It was a good plan, but it has some risks to it. If anything goes wrong, I wouldn’t have the tools to fix it or make a new part.

This past week my parents flew out and my Dad constructed the cabinet – with my awesome help. We were able to build the cabinet with no issues that we couldn’t overcome. So this past week was fun, my parents were out and my brother and his son were able to stop by for a few days. It was fun. But it was also a bunch of hard work to rip out the old cabinet and build a new one. We managed to do a few other small projects around the school too, but the cabinet was the main one.

I never fully developed all the woodworking skills my father has. But I’ve helped him on enough projects to know a little bit. I know what we need to do next, I am able to anticipate what tools will be needed next. It was fun to do that again. I love the way the wood smells when it’s cut and sanded. But one of the most rewarding things about building cabinets and furniture is the sense of completion. To be able to take out something old and used up and replace it with something new, functional and beautiful. There’s a real sense of accomplishment. One of the things I’ve learned while helping my dad on the various projects through the years, most people cannot visualize what the finished project will look like. Sure they know it will be nice, but they don’t truly understand what they are getting until it’s done. That was reinforced this week at the school. Most of the teachers stopped by to check out the cabinet and they all said it looked nice. But not until it was done did they really understand how the cabinet would look and function.

I wonder how many times in our lives there is something used up and worn out that the Lord is just waiting to get rid of. He’s got something better that he wants to make and replace that old piece of junk. But we just can’t let go of the old thing. We can’t visualize how this new thing the Lord wants to do could possibly be better than the old thing we know and love. Even though it’s old and worn out, we love it. It’s familiar. We know what to expect. We know how to deal with it. We don’t want new things. We don’t understand how it could be better. Basically we don’t trust the Master Craftsmen. That’s a dangerous place to be.


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