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Adulting and Following Directions

Watching my husband work so hard on such a challenging task was inspiring! He was digging up rocks the size of his torso (wait what, we live in “Little” Rock!) and smoothing out the soil with the tamp, and patiently and obediently listening to my dad about the depth, materials, and how “he would do it”, followed by prepping the site, pouring concrete, and waiting for it to dry. We were finally ready.

So, we set out to buy patio furniture for our new little area of relaxation.

During this process we learned, after long days of searching, that patio furniture was going to cost us more than our regular inside furniture. (I am still not sure how that makes sense.) We ended up getting it on a great deal, and there were some pieces marked wrong (in our favor). According to the little sheet with all the tiny pictures of each piece, we should have paid almost double for some items!

The employees at the store didn’t know that until we had left, and when we came back to this store again, each piece was individually labeled.

This tells me that they definitely figured it out after we left! While my husband claims he was much more “stealth” about Operation:Patio Furniture, I remember walking back in there with a hat and sunglasses on next time- certain that they would find me and ask for the money that I still owe them for the patio furniture. Quickly gathering my items, paying cash and leaving was my goal!

What I remember most about the process of making a patio and the purchasing the patio furniture was how my husband was so available to receive directions about turning a patch of grass into a sleek concrete patio. In his line of work, he has to carefully hear and quickly interpret directions to help save lives and keep other firemen and himself safe during the process. Although he knows a lot how most homes are laid out, and can quickly figure out where the fire is coming from (most frequently the kitchen), he does not know about construction.

He puts it like this: “I know how to tear it apart, but I don’t know how to put it back together again.”

In my line of work, however, I am supposed to make sense of things I might not know and communicate that effectively back to others. I would have probably watched one episode of Fixer Upper and started digging before the show was even over, only to be frustrated when I learn it takes a lot longer than an hour! I was amazed that my husband knows and understands his limitations, and asked for help from my dad right away.

How life would be so different if I were truly in-tune with my limitations and was more teachable and coachable.

I think about how my husband heeded my dad’s advice and bought all the materials that my dad suggested, and didn’t even say “I told you so” when some advice seemed a little confusing. This takes a certain level of spiritual maturity, I think, to know when to just follow the directions.

As I write this, I look out my window and see my dog, who is the most teachable of us all, and how he finds freedom in following directions. Knowing exactly what to do and doing it is such a freeing thing, and might just lead to ultimate relaxation, not on a patio, but in heaven with the best construction worker there is.

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Melissa Kings

Melissa Kings is a teacher at a Catholic school. She loves teaching and discussing our faith.

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