I recently worked on a project at home that required a certain tool that I did not have. I searched through three of my old toolboxes and could not find the tool. I hate it when I don’t have the right tools to do a job.
I’ll tell you in a moment what I did to solve my tool problem.
My inability to find the right tool wasn’t the only thing that frustrated me about my project. The problem was that I didn’t want to do the project in the first place. I tried to find someone I could hire to do the work, but every attempt to find someone failed.
When I have the time, I don’t mind doing home projects. It’s something that I grew up with. My dad bought me my first tool set when I was seven years old. The tool set consisted of genuine child-sized tools, which included a real hammer, handsaw, pliers, screwdrivers, measuring tape, and a “carpenter’s pencil.” When I was 10 years old, I built a tree house with a friend who was a year older than I was. I had enough knowledge and experience at that time to plan the project on paper and supervise the project until we completed the tree house.
The reason I don’t do a lot of home projects is that I don’t have the time to do all the things that need to be done around the house. It’s easy for me to justify hiring someone to do the work because I have too much to do at work and I can make more money working at my office than it costs to pay someone to do my home projects.
Anyway, at home we have a small concrete patio in our backyard. Over the years, the concrete has separated away from the brick walls that it was poured up against. Over time, the gap between the concrete and the brick walls has gotten wider.
I talked to a guy a month ago who told me he would give me a price to do the work, but when I followed up with him last week, he apologized and told me he wasn’t going to be able to fit the job into his schedule before winter. As soon as I finished talking to him on the phone, I went on Amazon.com and ordered the Butle Rod and caulking that I needed to do the job.
You’ve probably never heard of “Butle Rod.” It’s the brand name of a product that my dad told me about when I had my own home repair business while I was in college. The generic description of the product is “caulking filler rope backer rod.” It’s sold in different widths and is rolled up like a rope. I purchased the one that was 3/4″ in width and 50 feet in length. I used it to stuff into the gap, so I could minimize the amount of caulk that was needed to seal the gap.
I didn’t think about the tool that I needed until after I started the project. When I couldn’t find the tool in my toolboxes, I decided to do the best I could to complete the project without the tool.
After I knelt down and started filling the gap with caulk, it occurred to me that I should say a prayer to my deceased uncle, Bill Miller, to help me figure out what I could do to smooth out the caulking without the right tool. When I decided to pray to Uncle Bill, I realized that I had never prayed to him for help. He died more than 20 years ago. After he died, I prayed for his soul, but I never thought of reaching out to him for assistance.
I decided to pray to him because he was a bricklayer and when I was a young man, I worked with him on a couple of occasions. He was a master at his craft and he took great pride in his work. His philosophy about work was that a person should always make their best effort to do a job right the first time. In his world, there was no room for mistakes or do-overs. Everyone who worked with him was required to give their best effort.
During the summer of 1978, while I was in college, my dad hired Uncle Bill to work on one of his construction projects. At that time, my dad owned his own commercial construction company and he was building an addition onto a local church. I worked for my dad that summer as a laborer, and he hired Uncle Bill to do all the caulking around the steel door jams that had been installed in the exterior brick walls and the interior block walls of the building.
When I asked my dad why he didn’t have a carpenter do the caulking, he said that according to union rules, any caulking that was done on brick or block had to be done by a bricklayer. The first day that Uncle Bill was on the job, I had a chance to watch the way he caulked around the door jams. As usual, everything that he did was done with precision and perfection.
So now it was 42 years later, and I was kneeling on my patio doing my best to caulk the large gap that existed between the concrete and the brick walls of my house. That was when it occurred to me that I should pray to Uncle Bill for his help, so he would help me do the job the way he would do it.
Within a minute of reaching out to him in prayer, I thought about a thick strip of steel that I had purchased a few years ago for another project. It occurred to me that I could cut the steel strip into the shape of the tool that I needed to smooth out the caulking.
I got up and walked into the garage and searched for the steel strip on the shelf where I thought I had placed it. I found the strip and grabbed my hack saw. I then cut two pieces of the strip into the tools that I needed.
I then thanked my uncle for quickly answering my prayer, and I asked him to help me complete the project.
At the beginning of this article is a picture of one of the areas that I prepped, caulked, and smoothed out with the tools that my uncle Bill Miller inspired me to create.
In the last part of the Apostles’ Creed, we profess to believe in “the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” We know from the Catholic Catechism that the souls who are in Heaven (“the church triumphant”), along with the souls in Purgatory (“the church suffering”), and the members of the church on earth (“the church militant”) all act together in unity and cooperation to assist those Catholics who are still struggling and suffering. Together they are referred to as the “communion of saints.”
Most of us don’t think about it, but there’s a saint who is available to assist us in every need that we have. The saints in Heaven include many of our deceased friends and relatives who died in the state of grace and who we believe are in Heaven with Almighty God.
After my prayer to my uncle was answered, I realized how little I pray to my deceased relatives who loved me while they were on Earth, and who would love nothing more than to assist me if I requested their help.
Now that I’ve been reminded of all the saints who are waiting to assist me, I’m going to be reaching out to them more often. I would suggest that you do the same.