Our stone wall.
It took just 4 weeks, although it often felt as though we had been working on it far longer.
Altogether there were 5 dump truck loads of stone.
Initially we moved them just by walking to the pile and carrying them by hand, one by one, or as many as we could fit in our arms.
The bare spot shows where the pile sat those four weeks, as we moved it little by little.
And then soon, we settled into a routine with it. It became too far to carry the stones from the pile to the growing wall, so we used two rather old wagons we had, and worked in teams. Two big kids (or one and me) would pull in front, while one or two little ones pushed the back end. We all loaded and unloaded each stone, one by one, and stacked them up as securely as possible.
Some days our goal was to move as many stones as we could with four wagon trips.
Other days we decided to work according to the clock – so we would move what we could in an hour or two.
Honestly? There were a couple of rare moments when the kids… er… didn’t have a great attitude about it.
Which is of course when I encouraged them with the wise words of Proverbs, which flew thick and fast from my silvered tongue.
“In all labor there is profit.”
“The soul of the diligent is made fat.”
“The precious possession of a man is diligence.”
And although it’s not technically in the Proverbs, “Do everything without arguing or complaining,” from Philippians, might have been mentioned once or twice.
But truly, the kids amazed me. Although they didn’t pretend to be excited about all the hard work, they were diligent. They were often even cheerful, singing and laughing and encouraging each other as they worked.
We had some great conversations while we worked. Ones where I could teach them that this stone wall they were laboring to build was going to be a memorial for them.
They could see the fruit of their efforts, little by little, as the wall grew longer and longer. As they sweated, and smashed their fingers, or had to straighten up a small rockslide when one stone caused several to topple over, the wall continued to grow longer, and our pile diminished.
Throughout their lives, God is going to put them to the test. He is going to give them difficult things to achieve, and to endure. And at first glance, those things will probably feel overwhelming and unattainable.
Like 5 dump truck loads of stones in one huge pile.
But in the same way that they moved 5 loads of stones, little by little, load by load, into one long, sturdy, beautiful wall, He will equip them to get through the trials He is going to give them.
The last day was one of the longest. There had been a lot of dirt mixed in with the stones. So we had to literally dig them out with our hands, sort them, cart the small ones to our shooting berm in the back of the yard, and put any that were large enough to fit on the wall into a little niche here or there. We had to shovel the dirt and cart it back to our garden area – twelve 5-gallon buckets of dirt. Then we raked the bare earth left from the pile, to try to coax the few stalwart blades of remaining grass underneath back to life. And, there were bits of trash to throw away.
But we were finished!
And there was much rejoicing at Kenilworth!
And ice cream. Of course.