I went to the closet door and reached for a book, only to find myself flat on my back, wind knocked out of me, on the hard-packed dirt of the crawlspace. Mom was in a panic, and dad was furious at himself for leaving the crawlspace hatch open.
You don’t think about the floor until it’s gone.
This is what it’s like with dad away from us. I step out like I always have, only to realize he is not here to put my weight on.
This isn’t a sad post but an encouraging one. Do you know you can be subflooring for the support of someone else’s feet?
I’ve seen men down on their knees –laying out boards on floor joists and hammering them down, nice ‘n level. Something sturdy enough for kids to wrestle on and moms to stand on for hundreds of hours cooking meals and for teenager boys to hop off the stairs, landing thud.
Like a wide plank of plywood, I could count on dad to be a certain something in my life.
Dad always asked about our taxes. Always warned about icy roads in the canyons. Always slipped cash into my pocket before I left home. Always ordered the car part I needed from NAPA. Always expressed pride in my every accomplishment, even if it was just that I helped do the dishes.
I see the wide-open hole dad leaves in my life and celebrate it. When I look up, I see mom and aunts and uncles, brother and grandkids, neighbors and best friends, shop clerks and teenagers, all with the same expression on their faces –looking at the square feet dad used to cover, now the gaping hole. And I think, Wow, my dad spent a lot of time on his knees. Hammering down flooring one square foot at a time. Offering love and help and wisdom and happiness for people to stand on.
Paul gives us a hint into this kind of living when he talks about a woman named Phoebe, “She has been a great help to many people, including me.” (Romans 16:2 NIV)
This challenge is for us today, to ask how we might lay out something solid for the people around us to stand on –a stabilizing thickness of habit and attitude and service to extend in every direction, under the feet of these people we share a bit of earth with.