Happy Day With Habitat for Humanity

Pat McFadden, Evelyn Raines & me (not Mike)

I’m almost too tired to type this. After a day on a Habitat for Humanity build in Nashville, every fiber of my being aches.

But I feel awesome.

The day started with coffee, doughnuts, and a prayer for “mercies of safety and productivity,” administered by a volunteer from First Presbyterian Church, which coordinated the build. Then began a safe and productive whirlwind of trim work and paint, inside an adorable one-story cottage that will soon be the dwelling of a first-time homeowner, who is helping building the house.

Construction veteran Frank was our Habitat for Humanity Supervisor on Site (S.O.S.), teaching us how to use the tools and make the measurements. The world needs more Franks.

Yesterday was mostly about doors and windows. With guidance from S.O.S. Frank, my woodworking friend Pat McFadden installed the first half of a half-dozen or so pre-hung door assemblies, followed by my new friend Steve Ward and me, who shimmed and nailed the second half of each jamb into place.

Then we moved on to window trim, using an ingenious jig to measure and cut sills and aprons. Evelyn Raines and a host of painters finished it all off with a fresh coat of paint, and by the end of day, the house was unrecognizable as the raw structure we had entered in the morning.

I can’t remember a day when I worked harder, learned more, met nicer people, developed more confidence, and accomplished something I felt better about. At the end of the day, when the homeowner stood outside her future front door, “dreaming about decorating,” all the details of window sills and door jambs came together into something larger:

Fast-growing Nashville needs more affordable housing. That’s what the Habitat for Humanity leader reminded our team of volunteers, right before the prayer for mercies of safety and productivity. “Your coming out today is part of that solution—” he said, “a whole lot better than just complaining about it.”

4 thoughts on “Happy Day With Habitat for Humanity

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