Wednesday, July 6, 2011

This past week the Crescent Avenue Church and Watchung Avenue Church participated in a work camp at Stony Point, a Presbyterian Conference Center. We worked on demolishing four garages to prepare the site for a new Arts Center that will be constructed in 2012. On our last day I was asked to reflect on the day and the week. Here is what I wrote:

It’s Friday, not in the TGIF kind of Friday, but a Friday that has us packing and anticipating heading home.

We walked the shady drive following breakfast and worship this morning— fields and hills opening out beyond with tall green trees reaching to the heavens. We ramble past the herb garden and I think, this garden contains possibility— basil for red sauce, sage for French lentil salad, rosemary for new potatoes, chives for cream cheese. Henni, the cook here at Stony Point is in league with the Devil. Her food is so delicious that everything I encounter conjures up thoughts of recipes and our next meal. I must focus on the task at hand this morning, to remove the pitched roof, rafters, and plywood, the last hurdle of our whirlwind week.

Benji and Mike head up the ladders to begin removing the roof. Fernando just looks at Jake and myself and says slyly that the makeshift scaffolding only holds 600 lbs. I guess Jake and I are grounded for the duration of the roof removal. Mike and Benji work steadily, sure-footed, and safe as board after board comes down. I envy them their youth and endless energy until Benji puts his foot through the flat roof underneath. By lunch the roof and rafters are down. My mind wanders back to the herb garden and what awaits us at lunch.

Beyond the low cut building we are working on are the gardens. At the fringe is a locust tree. Shelby calls this the “tree of death”. It has a huge, weathered branch that Shelby pulls until a twig is released. We can see the large thorns as she makes her way to us under the sycamore tree. I silently wonder if Jesus’ crown of thorns were made of these. As I sit sharing water and a bench with the work crew I think of how fortunate I have been to spend the week with these amazing co-workers. I do not want to leave. The friendship, work, sweet peas, chicken paprika, corny jokes, and late night smore fires. I do not want to leave this day, this hour.

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