These words have been in my thoughts and at times uttered aloud. Lord, have mercy!
I do not intend the words or meaning to be a supplication of needs to be met, for the Lord has been meeting my temporal needs in marvelous ways. I am so very grateful, and another exclamation I've been making lately is: God provides! Praise the Lord!
My helper, Daniel the Nazarene, came two days this past week. As I write now, he is on his way driving to second semester of Bible college--a 16-hour drive. I'm praying his vehicle hold up; he is concerned, and this young man's concerns are now my concerns.
The Lord, have mercy! exclamation is one of surprise and gratitude while at the same time marveling at how far this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit's body has been pushed in the manual labor this past three weeks or so since Daniel has been able to come help me with renovation and construction efforts. He has come one day a week other than this past with two days (and maybe the week after Christmas two days).
So in about six days' time of 6-7 hours including lunch and snack breaks, my helper and I were able to get tongue-in-groove ceilings installed upstairs and down the slanted ceiling wall in two bedrooms. We put ceiling boards in a 24x14' living room, installed drywall up high in a stairwell, framed a stairwell wall, framed a pocket door, installed drywall on that wall and finished framing a closet door opening. We finished hanging drywall in a couple high-up places downstairs, and we got the washer and dryer moved back into the laundry area (on other-and-underside of stairwell).
We've carried up the ladder several sheets of drywall, with Daniel taking the brunt of the lifting, thankfully so. We nailed in 8 sheets of plywood beadboard into the attic gable "garret room". We've had to empty out that attic space of boxes and bags of belongings stored these nearly four years so that we had space to work.
On days Daniel was not here--the bulk of days--this painful-bodied hermit hustled and pushed beyond what is truly feasible, or so it surely seems to me. God provides! Praise the Lord! Others have mentioned they could never do it. I respond, "Yes, you could and would if your existence depended upon it. God would see you through, as He is seeing me through, at least to this very present moment."
We never know the day or the hour. But I am quite hopeful that I will be able to finish the hermitage in a few months, for the finances will totally be dried up and finished in a few months. The generous assistance by Daniel the Nazarene and his willingness to drive from civilization to help an old hermit who paid an hourly wage that he appreciated and can use for college but also was not an unreasonable pay, has made all the difference.
No drugs, no foul language, a godly young man, responsible, on time, tolerant of working with an old person who is quite capable of making errors in figuring how to do carpentry work and forgetful when pain is high--God provided quite a gift in Daniel the Nazarene.
Each Sunday morning as the couple from the parish so kindly brings Communion to this hermit, they remark on the progress in this hermitage--an old farmhouse that probably could have been a tear-down to some prospective buyers who might have had a more honest and realistic realtor than had I. The couple is seeing what a little bit of help--paid help--can do, what a little bit of charity can provide in results. And the work is good work, for this dwelling will never be for others as it was for me. Others will never have to undergo the hardships of living in rugged, rotten, rat-ridden, cold and nasty circumstances.
Now, that is good and holy! And Daniel the Nazarene and next, a couple of his friends who are willing to come a day a month to help continue what help I need that I cannot do with God alone--these young people are stepping up in charity and kindness; and I am paying them more than they'd make and are so very grateful for their pay. Loving kindness is a win-win. When and if I live the next few months and God provides energy and strength to continue my God-alone work efforts in here, I hope to sell and gift these young people all the more with monetary assistance that I cannot give them right now.
It hopefully will all be a witness to the Catholic parishioners who could not so much as take five minutes to lift a microwave up on its metal holding strip, or those who could not let their son come for 10-15 minutes to help me lift up six sheets of drywall--with payment to them, of course. It hopefully will be a witness to the Catholic parishioners who a priest said there were no men who could help me the first summer carry in six sheets of 1/2" plywood.
Hopefully it can be a witness to the Catholic realtor and the parish St. Vincent de Paul Society who the realtor mentioned could help me that first cold winter when the roof was leaking like a sieve and I had no one to help with the most minor of tasks but requiring another set of hands now and then. That Catholic realtor will not be selling the house, but she will surely be aware when another has the listing and will see that God provided through other Christians, such as Daniel the Nazarene and his friends, the little bit of help that made it feasible for this old and pained hermit to be able to progress toward completion.
Lord, have mercy! As I read more of St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Sermons on the Song of Songs, in the introduction we are reminded of the ultimate goal and need to be united in God's love--to love God in Himself and to realize deeply that He loves us and it is His love by which we are able to love Him. And, the saint reminds that once we love God in Himself and have union in His love, it is then that we are able to truly love others. It is then that we are called to drop our love embrace in contemplation and to be charitable to the temporal needs of others.
I hope to write more about what St. Bernard explains of God and His Love. But for now, before more storms roll through, I must drop my desire to write of what Bernard shares and get the very pained and sore body off the mattress, dressed, and utilizing the compound miter saw set up outside on the deck. I have more ceiling areas (shorter boards so can nail with God's help) to cut and install and some 2x4's to nail in here and there in various parts of the stairwell and attic garret so that there will be adequate surfaces to which to hang drywall.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Lord, have mercy! God provides! Praise the Lord!