Directions – Hannah’s Couch

My daughter Hannah is taking all kinds of grown up steps. She has her first job. She moved into her first “adult” apartment. And she bought her first piece of furniture, a very nice white couch.
This past week Gina, Abram, and I loaded up the truck with some odds and ends from our house (translation: junk we no longer want) and headed to Durham. Once we unloaded, the next job was to go to the store and pick up the couch (thus saving the $100 delivery fee).
The man at the store was great. He wheeled the couch right out on a dolly and it slide in nicely. Hannah and Gina went to look for other apartment vitals while Abram and I went back to the new apartment with the new couch.
The problems started when we arrived back at Hannah’s new apartment. Did I mention her apartment was on the third floor? And did I mention there was no elevator? We pulled the couch out and realized its true weight for the first time. It weighed somewhere between a baby elephant and full grown cow. Straining we came to the first set of stairs.
Some of you know that lugging a couch up the stairs offers terrible choices. The guy in the front has to walk backwards, but doesn’t carry as much weight. The guy on the bottom walks forward, but he has most of the weight. Since I am a little larger than my son (okay, a lot larger), I got the bottom. Somehow we made up the first flight of stairs, rested, and then made up the second flight. That’s when the trouble began.
To enter the apartment from the stairs, you make a sharp turn to the left, and then another sharp turn to face the door. Once the door was open, the foyer was three feet deep. We couldn’t make the corner with the couch.
We stood the couch up; it wouldn’t fit through the door. We angled it; it got jammed in the door. We put three feet of the couch’s length over the balcony and tried to go straight in. Not enough room to turn.
We set the couch down to think. I lifted one end, while Abram scooted the other. We got the couch jammed again. We begin to toy with the idea of cutting the couch in half, but we didn’t have a saw. It’s 95 degrees, and we are pouring sweat. We start to debate if changing the flat tire on the boat was harder or easier than this.
We tried again. We got the couch within three inches of going through. We decided to switch ends – I’m not sure why. One end of the couch was sticking up and the other was low. I’m still not sure what happened, but I lifted my end and Abram twisted his end and mysteriously the couch began to move. I lifted a little higher, pushed a little harder, Abram twisted a little more, and the couch was through the door! We still don’t know exactly what we did to get it through the door!
You might think the lesson from this is if it’s that hard to fit something into your life, you don’t need it. But here’s the better lesson. To get the right things in the right place will take effort. But effort alone isn’t enough. There’s a moment of mysterious grace, when what was impossible becomes possible. But you never find that moment if you don’t bring the couch to the door, if you don’t try.
Whatever is needed in your life, do your part and then trust our great and mysterious God to give you grace and strength.
And to all the women who say men have no idea what childbirth is like, you are right. However, God has given us furniture to move so we can get the general idea.
Grace
Clay

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