It Takes Time

January 18, 2011
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“What are we going to be doing today?” I cluelessly asked my dad. He glanced over and chuckled. I had no idea how much work was ahead of me.

“Don’t worry about it.” He quickly snapped. He obviously didn’t want me to know. Looking at him, I cocked my head to one side, trying to discern what he was thinking. So he lit a cigarette. I looked away, knowing that he was not going to give it up.
“We,” he suddenly added, “Are going to be cleaning this house up inside, doing lots of yard work, and Renewing the face value of the house.” My curiosity spiked. “Just how long are we going to be here?” I asked as my forehead grew lines while making a disgusted face. “A couple of hours.”
I sighed. Little did I know then.
It was at a vacant house, somewhere in the valley of the sun. We had nicknamed it “17th place,” so that we could quickly identify it when planning our work days. When we finally arrived there, it looked trashed, like someone ran a cyclone through it, and only it. I was mesmerized by how much needed to be done once I got there. We offered to help restore it for an old friend, who had quickly liked the idea. Not to mention the city was complaining about its appearance, and had been for quite some time.
“Woah.” I exclaimed. I began to peek my head around walls and my eyes started to turn into twin moons. “We have to do all of this?”
“Yup, we sure do, son.” My dad added.
“Y-you can’t be serious…” I said, startled, starting to grow as nervous as an alert cat. “I thought you said that this would only take a couple of hours?” I turned to look at him, narrowing my eyes.
Once again, he chuckled. He then dropped his cigarette outside the door.
“What’s so funny? Did I miss something?” I added. A few beads of sweat trickled down the back of my neck.
“I did say a couple of hours, boy. I didn’t mean a couple of hours overall, I meant a couple of hours every day that we’re here.” He extinguished his cigarette with his shoe, and then shut the door, beginning our work day.
So we began. Repairing and doing as much as we can. Inside, we painted the whole 6 bedroom, three and a half bathroom house; we replaced many different faucets, cabinets, and even floors. Not to mention we repaired the drywall on the ceiling. Doing that, the texturing was uneven. So we re-did that as well. Overall, the inside amounted to about 3 steady months worth of work, from about 10 to 4 a day.

Next, we worked on the landscaping. Over the course of a week, we shoveled roughly 40 tons of rock, all the while the blazing Phoenix sun scorched my skin, leaving me with scarlet markings all over my body. I was so sore, that after the first day, I could barley move for two whole days after. There was more rock then on a side of a mountain, and weighed as much as the trucks used to get it there. With an “Oomph!” and a grunt, I huffed my share of the rock with buckets and a shovel to the backyard where I was ordered to put it. Once my part was done, I was quite relieved. Overall, it seemed like way too much work for nothing.

“Good job, son” I heard generously from my father. That was what I looked forward to hearing after every day of tough, menacing work. Good job. It told me that my work had purpose, that it was worthy of gratitude. That’s all that I needed.

I had learned something important that didn’t make sense to me in the beginning; Even though earning money has a good use, it’s not necessary for good work. All that’s needed is a pat on the back, and a “good job.” It showed me that I didn’t need money to accept a job, that money shouldn’t be my only motive to work. Passion, caring, and even experience opportunities should be taken into account when considering any type of work that you decide to take under your wing.

Leaving was painful, but well worth it. I was walking away from a newly renovated home that I helped mold with my own two hands. It was worth all of that hard physical labor, thanks to the gratitude that it made me receive, and all of the compliments from the neighborhood about the house. It was seemingly pointless at the beginning, but it is obvious now. I had escaped from everyday life and did something useful.

“I couldn’t have gotten done without you.” My dad complimented. I was overjoyed. I can’t wait until I can do more for the community.





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