Thanking the Lord for Being Back to the Grind

As is obvious from a quick scrolling down this screen, I have done very little blogging in the past many months. Nowadays, though, I have a new and better excuse for this “negligence.”

Thursday, September 22nd, was the day before this year’s autumn equinox. And on that day, I began a new job. It is my return to full-time construction work after ten years of being out of it.

View from my truck, Day Two

But it is not only a return to something old, it is also a trip into something new. I have never worked where I had to wear a hard hat, safety glasses, and “hi-viz” clothing (bright orange or neon yellow-green). Nor have I ever had to follow so many safety restrictions. There is some ladder work, but mostly we use scissor-lifts for everything. There is no walking around up on high structures without being tied off with safety harnesses and so forth (which, as yet, has not happened, because we are just now rolling joists for the second floor).

First walls up, Day Two

I was in a pretty good amount of turmoil and trepidation, as I anticipated the call to work from this new company. The last time I put in a 40-hour week of tough construction type work was in 2001, right before I began teaching full-time at Heritage Christian. I was 31 years old then. I am 41 years old now (42 in a couple of weeks). There is a big difference between the two… at least for me.
A fairly small example of the kind of thing I refer to here would be my hands. They are once again rough and dry and cracking. That’s familiar old stuff that comes with the territory when working out in the weather. But now they are also constantly falling asleep and tingling to the point of pain because, as far as I can tell, my elbows are pretty constantly enflamed and pinching nerves that run down my forearms to my fingertips.

So I guess I am an old dog trying to do a young dog’s tricks. On the positive side, I suppose I am a bit wiser and a little less likely to do dumb stuff to “prove” myself on the job. So that’s good.

Much of the first floor done

I understand a bit more about life. I am a little less rattled, a little less concerned with what people think. I want to walk with the Lord, and whether people respect me or not mostly matters to me only as it serves to glorify Him.

First floor walls

That Thursday and Friday—those first two days of work—were pretty terrible for me, though. I was in agony from head to toe. The following Monday, it was a little less intense. And as I made my way through my first full week, I found my ability to withstand the beating of the workday was growing by quite a bit. Now, I find I am fatiguing only in the last hour or so of the day. And the drive home still finishes me off pretty well. I hope to get a bit more stamina yet, so that I still have some gas in my tank when I get home.

A scissor-lift

For all this difficulty, things definitely could have been worse. Since I knew about a month beforehand that I would be receiving a call to work from this company, I asked my friend Jeanie, who is a fitness instructor, to help me figure out a work-out to get ready. She gave me a simple core strengthening work-out, which I did at least four or five days a week leading up to my call to work. And since the job started, I have still done the work-out on weekends and some of the key stretches every morning. It has been a life-saver. (Thanks, Jeanie! 🙂 )

The advent of this job seems to have been very serendipitous. The Lord seems very clearly to have put it all together for me. I hope I am honoring Him in it.

Second floor walls stacked up waiting to be craned into place

I sent in my résumé to this company called Carpentry Plus a long time ago. And then one evening in August, I received a phone call from them. I was told to show up for an interview at 10AM the next day at their shop in Eagle Creek. When I got there, I met the younger member of a father-son team who own and operate the company. He told me that they were Christians and that they are trying to run their company in a way that honors the Lord.

Some joists I just rolled

Whereas my split career paths (12 years in construction and 12 years in education) had been a barrier to employment with most companies, these guys seemed to be glad to hire someone like me. As we talked, I found out that there was another son, the brother of the guy interviewing me, who had gone to Multnomah’ seminary and was now currently finishing his doctoral dissertation down at Golden Gate Seminary. Yep, the Lord seems to be behind this thing.

Anyway, the job itself is the constructing of a new elementary school on the hilltop in West Linn. I don’t know the exact name of the school, but it apparently has the word “Trillium” in its title. I took a couple of pictures on my second day of work and then several more yesterday (Oct. 7th).

My orange vest falls onto the wet floor while I am at lunch 😦

As I mentioned above, this is new to me in many ways. About half the guys I work with now are also kind of new to it, though they, like me, have other construction experience. The other half have been doing this commercial construction for a long time. Understandably, they can sometimes mistake my lack of experience with some of the tools, terminology and practices of this kind of construction with a lack of construction experience altogether. But I think that is getting better too.

I don’t know how much I will be able to add new posts to TLW in the weeks and months ahead, but I thought it would be good to take the time today to put this one here to explain what’s going on with me these days.

All in all, I am very glad for this opportunity. The pay is good—very good. It is good to be part of the work force again, to be working hard to support my family again. I am thanking the Lord for His mercy and grace.

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11 thoughts on “Thanking the Lord for Being Back to the Grind

  1. KC,

    I pray that the Lord will continue to restore you spiritually and physically each day. I pray that He will give you rest amidst all the busyness and physical exertion that this kind of work requires, and that your stamina and resilience will continue to grow and strengthen.
    May the Lord bless you through this job in many and unexpected ways!

    I will happily read whatever writing you are able to post with your busy schedule. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. 🙂

    • Beth…… I am very blessed by the gift of your friendship.
      Thank you for your prayers on my behalf.
      I ask our Lord’s blessing upon you as well.
      Hope to see you soon!

  2. I am so happy for you my brother. I am grateful to the Lord for the blessings bestowed upon you. Feels good to get a hard days work in right? Keep it going my dear friend this whole story warms my heart!

    Love you Bro!

    • Thanks, my Brother! It does feel good to get a hard day’s work in. If it only it weren’t for that darn 50-60 minute drive home in my 5-speed truck. I’m still spending my evenings pretty much wiped out.
      Leave it to me to find something to complain about. Kinda reminds me of a joke I heard awhile back:
      A Jewish mother was walking along the beach with her small son when a huge wave came and caught the boy and swept him away from her out to sea where he disappeared. Frantic, she prayed and pleaded with God to bring her son back to her. Then an even bigger wave reared up and crashed right by the woman, depositing the boy more or less safe and sound by her side. She looked at him for a moment then turned her gaze to heaven once again and said, “He had a hat!”
      😉
      Love you, Bro!

  3. Hi Mr. Stewart, it’s me Vi. It’s been a very long time since I last visited your blog. How have you been? Life has been a little bit crazy 😦 but I managed it somehow. I’m glad to know that you have found a new job, but a little sad that you are not working in the education field, because I still believe that you are a very great teacher 🙂 Still, I wish you best of luck and success in the way you choose, and may God watch over you like he has always been.
    P/S: Are you still using your old email address, which is a comcast one, or have you changed to a new one?

    • Consider my chops busted… 🙂
      Well, I certainly would like to get back to writing here soon… We’ll see…
      For now, I’ll just change my background for (what remains of) January, change my gravatar picture, and change my quote of the week.
      How’s that for now?…

  4. Hello KC!

    This is Robert Bernadelli from Heritage! I recently got one of these blogs for my music and thought that I should look you up! I am so glad to hear about the events and happenings in your life. I can imagine the change from teaching back to construction would be difficult but I am sure you have adjusted well. You were and are a huge inspiration to me. I have graduated from college and have been working intensely. It only seems like yesterday that we were all back in Western Civ. I hope that things are going well for you at your new job and that sometime soon we can get together and catch up. I pray that things continue to go well!

    Much admiration and respect,

    Robert

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