This morning, after getting all my supplies loaded up and my work clothes on, I realized that it would probably be a kindness to my niece/client (who has three young children and a baby) if I didn't show up for work as early as I had planned, so I threw on a jacket (in May!?) and set out for a brisk and pared down version of one of my walks on the mean streets.
As I walked, I began talking to God, offering prayers of thanksgiving for legs that still work, a new day, the rain we've had, my family members, and for all manner of good things.
But, just so you know the whole truth, Diary, when my path took me onto the busy street and I began to feel agitated by the roar of the cars rushing by, my thanksgiving faltered in a very quick and noticeable way.
I thank God, who is constantly having to rescue me, that instead of cursing the noise and bustle of it, He prompted me to give thanks for my city and for the goodness of such things as a sanitary sewer system, paved, lighted and maintained roads, the sidewalk I was using, clean water, emergency alert systems, and curbside trash and recycle service.
Thinking with purposeful gratitude about my city caused my mind to turn, again, to the story of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem; a piece of history which we have been studying on Sundays,and on which I have been meditating for many weeks.
Those thoughts, in turn, became prayers that the Prince and I would take our places in the city, that we would mend and defend our section of the wall, wherever it is, and bring honor to God.
Two hours later, I was covered in bits of wallpaper backing and joint compound dust, teetering on a ladder and wielding a brush full of sealant for damaged walls which I was desperately trying to keep out of my hair.
I was listening to the sweet chatter of my client's five-year-old and promising her that she could use the roller and 'paint on some glue' once I'd worked my way down the wall to her level.
I stopped, once I'd gotten there, to take a photo - the third in a series showing the process of redoing the room - and it suddenly struck me.
I was, quite literally, repairing a wall in my city...
...and I knew that it mattered.