Assembly Required

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2-3

Apparently, the 29th is the stainless steel anniversary.

At least that is true for my wife Jan and I. For our celebration this year, we bought a grill. A Char-Griller Grillin Pro 3 Burner Gas Grill, to be exact. We ordered it online, and it came. In a box.

We knew that. We knew we’d have to put it together. What we didn’t think through was the challenge such an adventure would be.

It was 5:30pm when we decided to open the box. It took twenty minutes just to pull everything out. By mutual decision we decided that I would read the directions, and Jan would do the actually assembling. (I have chubby fingers)

Within ten minutes I had already read something wrong. We’d put the wrong legs on the wrong side and had to unscrew what we’d already done. An early mix up, but not that bad. We built the frame together, and I mused that it looked very much like a walker. A symbol of us growing old together?

After an hour, we were on step 6. Of 20. The smiles had become forced. We were staying civil only because this was an anniversary project we were suffering through. Then we used the long bolts where we should have used the short bolts. That was an added half hour of work to undo. There was some sighing and some tongue biting, but we kept at it.

I kept thinking about how this whole thing was a fitting metaphor for the work of a marriage. A collaboration, building a life together. Not always easy, but you play to each other’s strengths. Good moments, frustrating moments, and in the end, if you both keep at it, you discover you have something to show for it.

At 7:30pm, we proudly looked at the finished project. It was glorious, gleaming black in the evening sunset. I stood over the ignition button and said, “Are you ready to fire this puppy up?”

Jan said, “Honey, we don’t have a propane tank.”

Oh yeah.

I dashed to the store and picked one up. No stopping now! You can’t have a faith-filled union without the Holy Spirit, keeping the fire burning. A marriage requires some assembly, that’s for sure. And God, there in the mix.

In the end, at precisely 8:30pm, we’d scraped together a delicious dinner of ribeye steaks, salad, and roasted new potatoes. We sat and ate outside, toasting the next 29 years. Sure, it was pretty much dark by now…

but I basked in the glow of the grill–and the girl, of my dreams.

Have a great week,