Life moves really fast. At age 25 I have a mortgage, wife, kids, career, bills and budgets, limited time; you know, adult stuff. I remember the song Kenny Chesney put out: "Don't Blink". It really feels like blinking is moving the giant wheel forward no matter what I feel. Wisdom is something I am trying to pick up along the way. It's similar to breaking a dish in the sink and wading through the water to find all those tiny glass fragments. It's not clear through the soapy water how many pieces there are or where they are, you just know they are there.
If you look hard enough you can find the wisdom God has left before you. It's not usually some re-arranging of the stars, talking animals, nightmares, or any other message from God that's often portrayed in the movies. It's the real life stuff, the situations and circumstances that round out our day to day. What's strange is that the wisdom I picked up didn't hit me until around a month after the event occurred. If you've got a minute, read further and I'll share this story of the message and how I decoded it. Better late than never.
It was near the end of the school year and a friend of mine had mentioned that the roof on his house needed to be replaced, this was an opportunity because my home insurance had just been dropped due to the state of my roof. Yeah they can do that. So because hiring a crew to do it for me sounded easy but certainly not within my fiscal budget I knew the only crew that would be replacing my roof would be friends and family who I could recruit into service. Aware of this I felt it was essential to get my hands dirty and pick up some new skills, just be of use on my own roof job. And besides, I get a chance to help out a friend in need: two birds... If I nudge up elbow to elbow with some real roofers maybe some knowledge will be passed forth. I took the opportunity and spent a day up on a friends roof.
I learned a lot by doing: the underlayment, drip guards, caps, ventilation, nail guns, pretty much everything. Leaving that day, though I worked hard, I felt vaguely confident in my ability to co-pilot my own roof replacement if I needed too. I would be at least useful. After all, I have a couple friends, uncle, brother and father-in-law who know what they're doing. I had knowledge and experience coming over to get this job done, I just needed to listen and follow directions and my roof would be a piece of cake. What I picked up my helping out a friend is just a bonus, just something I thought would be an extra. Let's fast forward.
Nearly a month later I had saved up the money to get the job done. I measured the roof, calculated materials plus delivery, acquired some tools needed, made some phone calls, I did my homework on this one and planned it out good enough to play the role of receptionists. Here comes obstacle number 1.
The roll in dumpster shows up, if you don't know these things are pretty essential if your tearing anything up and throwing large amounts of junk away (as in your old roof). I found the cheapest 10 yard dumpster I could and I found out why it was the cheapest when it showed up. It was maybe half the height of my friend's roll-in dumpster I had worked with previously, I had my doubts watching it pull up that morning. The man who delivered this baby dumpster did little to encourage me. He asked If I was tearing off only the roof over my garage and I replied
"Nope. Doing the whole thing"
This is when he cringed his eyebrows and flat out said "it ain't fitting... Well maybe if you stack them all flat."
I felt pretty novice at this. I think he could sense that I didn't have a whole lot of experience with this sort of thing. Probably because I look like I'm maybe 20-21. But, I paid my money so it was going to fit, I would find a way to make it fit. Then began the excruciating tear-off, the hardest part by far.
The tear off I planned on taking a day to day and a half tops. I had torn off one roof and it wasn't so bad, just scrape the shingles off into a dumpster and get rid of or pound down the old nails. But as luck would have it I found out my roof was made entirely of the old oak lumber. I also learned that oak lumber is DENSE. I mean to tear off the old shingles was to literally tear them from the old nails holding them down. I literally bent the teeth of the shingle scraper trying to pry these nails up. This roof tear off was done by myself and my father, and it took 3 days of WORK from 7:30 a.m. to whenever it got too dark to see. (from 8:30 -10 p.m.) Please know that I am not exaggerating. I still have remnants of blisters on my hands as of now over a month later. This was the sacrifice, the pain I had to endure to earn this roof. It was hard. I'm 25 and it was hard. My father is 53. But bless his soul he hung right with me the whole time.
Once the tear off was done we laid the felt and I learned that not just one of my recruits wasn't showing up but several were not due to different events. But, a breath of relief my father and brother-in-law were on there way up to help out and "knock this thing out". Things are finally looking up.
They showed up that evening around 6. They left the next afternoon around 2 because the experience I thought they had wasn't what I thought they had. They didn't know how to tackle the valleys of my roof. They didn't know how to perform the "ever so difficult California cut". I knew of it from instructional Youtubes but have never done them... or flashings. I needed the wisdom they sold me on.
After they apologized and then left I knew that this roof now on our fifth day of work needed to be complete and I at least wasn't giving up. I had to call my father who poured his work on my roof the previous three days. I felt bad but I knew he was my only other source of help. He came back. I received some knowledge from my neighbor of all people. I found out that he had a few years of experience of roofing during his construction career and not only did he know how to run the California cut he hopped up on my roof and showed me himself. It definitely wasn't too complicated and over the course of the next day my father and I completed the roof. And you know what? It looks good. In fact, it's raining as I'm typing this.
Today (a full month later) I'm starting to realize the gift of wisdom God has given me through the laborious task of replacing my roof.
The man said shingles wouldn't fit in my dumpster. I made them all fit by laying them piece by piece in a level flush manner. It took patience and time but I made them all fit with room to spare.
Be good to your neighbors. I had helped out with some ac issues for my neighbors car and in return he helped me out. The nail gun I was supposed to use for free from the friend I helped out was in use during the job so I would have to rent one from a local joint. Turns out my neighbor had one of those for free, just needed to buy nails. Another neighbor explained and showed me how to roof the valleys of my house. I just needed to humble myself and ask around. Be helpful to your neighbor, I am very grateful for the wonderful neighbors around which I now consider as friends, and friends will help you out.
Talk is talk. People will say many things that aren't true at all. People like to "talk themselves up" especially if they feel a need to cushion their man-stats to appear, well, more manly. Lean on people you can count on, trust your gut instincts when it comes to doing business and reading people.
Fathers will always be there when you need. My dad didn't know a thing about putting on the roof. This was the first time in life I had directed my dad at what to do next and how we would handle the situation on the roof. We were a great team. I understand that my heavenly father will not abandon me or turn away when I ask for help. Thats what fathers do. Conway Twitty had a song about this, it reflected literally over my experience.
Believe in your own capability. At first I leaned on the knowledge of others to help me complete the job. When that fell through I realized that the opportunity to help work on a friend' s roof was the key to my success. I helped a friend for knowledge and to learn a skill and little to my knowledge all of those skills were made to be a very valuable. Help your brothers out, learning is so much more valuable than money.
I am very happy with the whole project, and I can't explain the ownership I take it every time I see it. These gifts of wisdom don't come in the vessels you may be expecting, they come from life. I didn't just replace a roof that week, I gained friends, built a relationship with my dad, and learned a little more about my relationship with God.