Habitat 2017: Monday – Delighting in the Unexpected
Monday, March 5, 2017
Coming to the end of the first official workday and my eyes are tired and feet hurt….from being attacked by fire ants. This may sound miserable but it actually was the best part of my day. This Habitat trip marks number 4 in my adventure book. Each trip has been a different experience and leads to higher expectations for the next trip. This year my expectations were high and I have been looking forward to holding a hammer in my hand and taking some stress from the semester out on a nail or two; however, this morning we rolled up to the Habitat ReStore warehouse and there wasn’t much work to be done for a group our size.
We met with Ms. Sue, the director, in the meeting room for devotion and we all got some sweets and coffee in us and we were ready to get to work. We then went to meet our job supervisors, Ms. Lynn and her husband Mr. Ricky. I was eager to jump right in and start whatever task needed to be done in the warehouse. There was a beautiful mural made by a previous college that needed to be hung, painting, sanding, roofing, and tires to be taken off a trailer. There were plenty of hands to work. During past Habitat trips that I have been on our site supervisors have been eager to hand off power tools and put trust into our hands to complete the job. Mr. Ricky was hesitant to put trust into our hands to complete the tasks that needed to be done. This hung a cloud of frustration over Lourdes University students’ heads. With the Franciscan values running through our veins we were determined to move this cloud and turn the day around. After a delicious lunch, hosted by Watermark Methodist Church, our batteries were recharges and the cloud was gone.
A group stayed at the warehouse to work and another group went with Ms. Lynn to some Habitat houses to power wash and clean up the yards. Getting to spend time with Ms. Lynn and some students that I have not gotten a chance to know was great. In the smaller group we got comfortable with each other, laughing, and talking. As few people know, I am a country girl so in the middle of power washing the house…after hours of Stephen trying to fix the power washer but it was still broken…I decided to take my shoes and socks off and walk around the house power washing in my bare feet. I grew up running around in bare feet so I did not think anything of it. Well I instantly regretted that decision because half way through one side of the wall my feet instantly started to sting…I found a lovely fire ant hill. I threw the power washer down and ran for Ohio!!!! For the rest of the afternoon I sat on the back of the truck and tried not to itch my feet. During this time I was able to talk to the homeowner, Mr. Sherman. He was an elderly man who had a deep southern accent so we did our best to understand what he was saying. I was able to talk to one of the students that I have never met before this trip. When I could have been sitting on the tailgate of the truck complaining that I was soaking wet and my feet itched and burned, I took time to sit back and watch the group, talk to the homeowner, and get to know some new friends.
Day 1 was not what I expected (for a senior Habitat-er) and not what I wanted to do, but I realized that life is not about living up to expectations, it is about creating a path for something new.