A couple weekends ago we built a house. By “built” I mean framed the walls and sheeted the outside, and by “we” I mean a very large group of Kimray Team members. It was amazing and awesome and humbling.
The day dawned wet and with the potential for more rain. I was concerned that the weather would cause fewer people to show up, but Kimray people aren’t afraid of getting wet. The job site was a muddy mess, but that didn’t stop people from signing in, getting a doughnut and getting ready to work. With framing hammers in hand and some very concise instructions from the foreman, we started building and raising walls.
There were only 3 people on the site that knew everything that needed to be done and how. The rest of us were volunteers whose knowledge varied from significant to none. Yet everyone seemed to know what they should be doing. Some people nailed the studs to top and bottom plates, some held things in place, others brought wood and nails where needed, and still others grabbed brooms and tried to keep the mud and water at bay.
The top and bottom plates were pre-marked and color coded. White where a stud went, yellow for a 2×6, green for a window and orange for a door. Each wall was named and had an arrow that matched a name and arrow written on the slab along with lines where the wall went. We made a few mistakes which were easily rectified, but for the most part the walls went up quickly and correctly.
From time to time I looked up from the wall I was working on and took in the sight around me. We were a very diverse and colorful group. Apparently physical size, gender, race, educational level, school loyalty, choice of footwear or any other feature that might otherwise divide or differentiate us wasn’t really a factor when it came to helping a family build a home.
I was reminded of the barn raisings they used to have. An entire community would come out to erect a structure that was necessary for a farmer and his family to survive. They freely gave of their time and talent to ensure that someone in their community would have what they needed to make a life. Why? I think because they knew that if other people in the community weren’t thriving it would negatively impact the community, and they cared about that.
So here we were on a rainy Saturday morning building a house for a family we don’t really even know. Everyone there had other things they could have been doing. Things that would have benefitted themselves. They could have been moving themselves forward, but instead they were there moving someone else forward. Why? I think people at Kimray really care. They care about their fellow team members, but they also care about the community we live in and the people around them.
So I hammered and lifted and held. I was surrounded by people who were amazing and awesome and were doing something that would really make a difference in a family’s life. I wasn’t in charge. It didn’t matter what my title was, how much education I had, whether I was well versed in carpentry or it was the first time I had held a hammer. All that mattered was a willingness to do whatever needed to be done. I never once heard anyone say, “that’s not my job.” or, “I’m not responsible for that.” Everyone just did the next thing that needed to be done. Willingly, cheerfully and amazingly quickly. For those hours, everyone there was truly equal, united in a singular purpose that completely eclipsed any differences we might have.
I wish more of our community was this way. How would our lives be changed if everyone was willing to help anyone? How would our community grow and thrive if we took the time to do for others what they can’t do alone, and willingly accepted their help in return when we were unable to do for ourselves? When did we forget that if others in our community are not well, we are not well either?
Kimray is this kind of place. Within our walls we care for and support and protect each other. That is amazing and awesome and humbling.
We need to find more ways we can spread that care and love to the larger community. We need to protect and support those who can’t do it for themselves. Not because they deserve it, or have done everything they should have, but because they are people and if we let the people around us fall, we fall too. Jesus said we should take care of people who are vulnerable and in need. It isn’t just for their benefit; it is for ours. It makes us better individually and as a community.
Besides, if we aren’t there to catch others when they fall, who will catch us when we fall?
We built a house without knowing all the details or understanding everything we were doing. Because we were willing to work and give, something amazing and awesome and humbling happened. If we can raise up a house and change a few lives, we can raise up our community and make a difference in many lives. I know we are capable because that’s the Kimray Way.