Content with new shutters and a big bruise

Published 2:58 pm Monday, May 8, 2023

By Les Ferguson, Jr.

Growing up, I couldn’t wait for the latest Reader’s Digest to arrive. The feature I loved best was “Towards More Picturesque Speech.” That was a sure-fire way to increase your vocabulary.

Nerdy? You betcha! But as the years have gone by, writing has become more than just something I enjoy doing. In many respects, it has become a vital part of my identity. Hence this newspaper column you are reading right now.

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Unfortunately for my self-esteem, I’ve always been surrounded by folks who are heavily gifted in mechanics, carpentry, welding, or simply creating and building.

My only brother is that way. And my brothers-in-law? Amazingly talented – they could probably make MacGyver question his abilities. And then I have two sons whose aptitudes cause me to wonder if I’ve somehow lost my man-card or never had it to begin with. Can you say intimidated?

Still, I’ve been known to attempt a project here or there. Better yet, after spending time watching countless tutorials, I occasionally manage to get it done in a manner that doesn’t embarrass me.

I’ll take that win.

Case in point, recently my wife said we needed shutters. She’s said that for a couple of years or more, but the last time caught me feeling a bit adventurous. So, I said to myself, I can do that.

What could go wrong, right? It’s just three boards lengthwise and two boards crosswise – screwed together, sanded, stained, and with a little bit of added decorative hardware. Do that four times and there you have it – shutters built by a wannabe master craftsman.

And so, I did.

Have I mentioned that I can be a bit of a klutz and prone to doing things in not the safest way? That’s the real story here!

With shutters in tow, I managed to get all four somewhat securely fastened to the house using a masonry drill bit and concrete screws. The operative word was somewhat because a few days later my sweet wife kindly pointed out that the shutters were pulling away from the house.

Apparently in the world of non-writers, a three-inch gap away from the wall at the top isn’t the way shutters should hang. But I’d gotten this far, so I was sure I could fix it. In between rain squalls, I got on my ladder and began the process of re-screwing the shutters. Did I mention rainfall? Or maybe I told you about the incredibly soft ground said ladder was standing on?

At this point you can probably envision the ladder with me at the top beginning to simultaneously sink and fall in slow motion. Maybe you can even imagine the sound of the gigantic thud when self and ladder hit the ground.

It’s okay, go ahead and snicker, but two weeks later, my shutters are looking great – and I’ve got a huge bruise on my chest to prove it.
I hope you are laughing, but the real point is simply this: we all have gifts and abilities and when we use them to benefit others, we are making a huge investment in our community.

It may call for a sacrifice and you might fall off a ladder, but “just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:10)

God bless!

Les Ferguson, Jr., is pastor of Oxford Church of Christ. Write to him a