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June 17, 2020

“…man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith…”

(I moved 7,000 pounds of River Jack rock over 8 hours this weekend.)

Saul of Tarsus may have been the best press agent ever. In a letter he said the words above. I somehow find that talk hard to walk. In a sea of freak, the first century Roman occupation of the Middle East, he worked for the then-Nazi’s and made a living by imposing the will of The Law of the Victor over the Vanquished.

Until that small seat of personal power was suddenly realized as being meaningless, even evil. Not falling into his cup of wine in dissolute despair, or even using his ill gotten gains whoring around in moments of purchased ecstacy, he realized that he was an ass.

I moved 7,000 pounds of River Jack rock over 8 hours this weekend.

We created The Barn of Fun at our house about 15 years ago, after 5 years of construction. A bunch by me. But you could say that an architect making a place for his home is all about “me”. Sure.

Like everything else swimming in my head, how our box touched the ground was great in my mind towards the end of its creation. It had to be gravel (I had learned over the last 20 years that nothing grows in the deep, rocky shade.)

So I went to a gravel place, There a box of “River Jacks” was compelling. Harvested from river beds, River Jacks, “Rounds”, or Water-Washed Stones are similar to the interlocking boulders that essentially make our glacial morraine site. Frozen water moved those boulders to our site, and many tumbled across 1,000’s of miles over 100,000’s of years by glacial creep, as the world grew colder, and the weight of the frozen water grew.

The stones were along for the ride, so when the earth began to warm up 20,000 years ago, the frozen water melted, and the smoothed boulders dropped onto a landscape scraped free of soil before it – that dropped to make Long Island. So the well-travelled stone is in micro-allusion with River Jacks. These smaller rocks are small enough to be taken away by the rushing flow of rivers. They are gathered along the river’s course until they drop to form the river bottom’s bed. Like the Glacial boulders there are many different types of stones – sedimentary, igneous even volcanic (with an occasional spice of brick thrown in).

Like the glacial moraine stones River Jack are both a catalogue of type, but also a display of time as the stone sometimes reveals ancient plant or animal life offered up when erosion has removed the rock that had encapsulated them, and turned them into part of the rock.

These rocky acts took no faith, just gravity and water. They happened without man even knowing that they happened. But the same useless drive we have to know “why” these rocks are where they are, or even why they are, is great with me, every day.

It is a time where our rivers of life are pretty much frozen, the glacier life of unrelenting and frustratingly slow progess to eventual freeing is the COVID19 Sequestration.

So, in Sequestration, I have renovated the decaying walls our our home’s bath, fixed the failing finish on another bath’s wooden floor. painted two doors and three windows  – and every plant has been planted, and, even, gasp – tended. My lawn never gets too shaggy, the damaged walls in our home have been compounded and painted.

I Justified Sequestration.

Well, until the bare dirt-filled 15 year old River Rock demanded attention. I could pay cash to have someone do the work, as I had to trim the trees. But no. The internet complied, and I thought I had found the right stuff and ordered. Three times more than was needed. Sent as 2-3 inch stones rather than the 1-2 inch stones that I had ordered.

So I enlisted my Sequestion Sentenced son and we separated the dirt filled existing stone from its clogging earth so that we had perhaps half a yard’s worth of correctly sized stone for reuse where people walk.

Then two days of 100 wheel barrow deliveries and settings of stone (too big to really be “gravel”) in about 15 places. At the close of work was a dinner. I was done on time. I fulfilled the 15 year legacy. I walked the talk. And I was not sore, just a little stiff, and suffered one contusion that, this morning, seems to have healed.

I was justified by my acts.

But once done I knew that this was all about me. Others may appreciate the work in passing (especially when I thump my chest) but what I fixed really wasn’t broken for anyone but me.

And God made all those things. He made the thing that these things came from and are set into, first by water, then by me. He made me.

I do not have the instinctive Faith of most fish’s gills, Like our lungs, the mechanisms of our bodies which inflate and expell the gasses needed to live, with no thought on our part, and no effort (until you have COVID19.) But a few fish (sharks) need to move to push the water through their bodies, over the gills that get oxygen to live. They swim to live. Survival by acts.

Why am I shark? Why did Saul of Tarsus give up the Power Play Life? Why did he pivot to become St. Paul?

Why can’t I stop being a shark?

Well, God made me a shark. That’s why. He made Saul of Tarsus, and he made St. Paul.

Now I have to fill the pothole in my office driveway.

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