(Caveat: this memo contains petty complaints.)

Much of Saturday was occupied by replacing a broken washing machine and clearing a clogged drain in my kitchen. Admittedly, the washing machine was just an expense: my wife found and bought it, and a very nice young man delivered and installed it, so my only role was being bothered by paying and waiting for it. But 2 gallons of drain cleaner, a pool’s worth of hot water, inestimable plunges, 3 new plungers, some disgusting visual and tactile moments, and an auger later, I take credit for a kitchen sink that drains again. If I see you in the halls, you will understand why I smell like bleach, and probably will until the end of the week.

“I take credit.”

When my youngest son visited Saturday night, I regaled him with my conquests. In the middle of my auto-encomium, however, I realized (and shared) a slightly less laudatory truth: that I spent a bunch of money and a lot of hours so that things could be just what they were before anything happened. (Honestly, given my track record on repairs, I still taken a certain pride in the fact that unlike normally, things aren’t even more broken after I worked on them.)

Moses has the humbling correction I need, and the contrasting response which I hope will inform all of us as we approach tomorrow:

The wearisome correction: “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.”

The hopeful response: “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!”

We continue to work with hope, because He can do what we cannot.