Monday, August 22, 2011

They Paved Paradise

.... and put up a parking lot! Okay, so normally a parking lot would not make my list of noteworthy mentionables, however, I have had an unsurprisingly related role in putting this one together. For the last five years, our church has been in growth and transition and one of the major projects has been to purchase and demolish a retail building in front of the church and turn the area into a parking lot for our growing membership base. More recently, after lots of capital campaigning, we have finally been able to pay to pave the parking lot, which is a huge improvement both aesthetically and functionally. Given that it's raining 50% of the Sundays we head to church, it makes a huge difference not having to trudge through red clay mud to get to the sanctuary. Not to mention, the finished look is just more welcoming in general.

Before landscaping
A month ago the parking lot was paved but still nowhere near finished. Our pastor was leaving on his annual 4-week trip to the States (one of the ways he is compensated for having a congregation so far off the mainland), and the night before his trip, I got a three-page long email from him (I printed it... literally 3 pages), basically asking if I would take over the landscaping project that needed to be done to finish it. The existing plants we had were overrun with weeds, needed to be pruned, watered, and fertilized, etc. Basically some TLC was needed all around. In addition, grass and new plants needed to be planted in order to finish the project by the dedication on Aug. 21st. I took a deep breath and replied that I'd agree to do it. I mean, I had the time this summer, and even though I thought I was in way over my head, figured they must be in pretty big need of help if they're asking their youth director to play head gardener.

So yes, we can now add landscaping project manager to the list of random jobs on my military wife resume. Over the last four weeks I have led weeding parties with the youth (followed by YogurtLand, of course), made stepping stones out of mortar, sea shells, and sea glass as a girls group project, and on Saturday I led the final work party to get our palms and crotons in the ground, fertilized, watered and mulched. Well, watered was the easy part, since rainy season is in full force and we actually worked in the rain. And in fact, it has been raining so much they weren't able to cultivate the grass so we could plug the last remaining areas and finish the project.
Weird everyone is working hard but me... kinda nice being boss...

Pastor Jeff is the one in the gray with the yellow hat. Just call me el jefe
That may not sound like a big deal, and in the big scheme of things it's not, but as the leader of the project, I was definitely disappointed leaving there Saturday with three ungrassed and unfinished beds. The way things had gone down with decision making, personnel availability, and torrential rain in that last week, there was just no way to finish the project properly by the due date. And those of you who are goal oriented like me, know that there's nothing more frustrating than coming up short. I wrote my boss (Pastor Jeff) an email basically apologizing for and taking responsibility for the lack of completion, and he wrote me the most beautiful and gracious reply:

"You know, one of the Hasidic Jewish proverbs says that nothing, but God, is perfect.  Therefore they would intentionally make a flaw in some item they were crafting so as to remind themselves that they are creatures and not the Creator.  Look at this landscaping project like that.  Your inability to complete it 100% on time is simply a remind that you are not God, simply one of His beloved creatures."

So yesterday at church was a wonderful celebration of our finished parking lot. Well, almost finished. Much like each of us, there is still work to be done, imperfections here and there. But what a great reminder of what it's really all about in the first place.

And yes, I might just have the best boss ever. (And no, he doesn't read this so I'm not just sucking up).



  1. You seriously amaze me.



  2. what a great and huge undertaking! good job!! it's ok to be human :)


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