We wake up on December 26 refreshed and ready to tackle the next step in the process: getting a new driveway. With the inside of our house finally livable, it’s time to focus on finishing the outside. The old driveway has been an eyesore since the day we moved in. Over the years, it’s only gotten worse. The center portion is old, bumpy and cracked concrete with a small jagged rocks mixed in. To the right of that is gravel that we added years ago as an inexpensive solution for widening our driveway. To the left of the driveway is a much newer concrete walkway that leads to the front door. Several years ago someone told us: “You really ought to do something about the front of your house. The patchwork of different materials and colors is awful. New concrete and a new front façade would give it a whole new life.” Although we were offended at his directness, we knew he was right. It never looked good, but we ignored it until he planted those seeds of discontent in us. Replacing the driveway has been one of those future projects we’ve talked about for as long as we’ve wanted to re-do the kitchen. It is an exciting step of progress to be moving forward with it finally.
We take several bids and choose a company recommended by our new contractor. They offer us a discount if we’ll book the job before the New Year. As far as we’re concerned, the sooner they can start, the better. We’re not used to work moving at a rapid pace, so it’s a refreshing development in the ongoing saga. A few days after Christmas, the concrete company arrives and begins demolition. Five men with huge trucks and heavy machinery arrive and begin demolishing our old driveway. They are so professional and such hard workers; their efficiency is astounding. My boys are glued to the front window watching them destroy the ugly old driveway.
Once they remove everything, we show them the exact shape and design for the new front walkway and driveway.
On the day of the concrete pour, a huge cement truck pulls onto our street in the early morning light. It’s a frigid day and the neighborhood is hardly stirring as the trucks and other equipment ramp-up the noise level. We watch from the front window as workers in tall boots wade through the concrete being poured from the truck, push it into place and begin smoothing it. Our friends from down the street ride their bikes up to watch work progress. There is a celebratory mood as we witness this next phase of construction together.
Late in the afternoon, I ask the concrete foreman if my boys can put handprints on a side walkway. He promises to tell me when the concrete will be set enough to do them. They wait and watch anxiously until he gives them the green light. Taking turns, they kneel down and place their open hands in the wet concrete as I press down to make a deep impression. Using a pencil, we etch in their names and the date below each print.
In the Old Testament, the Children of Israel would mark places where God did something significant with a tangible reminder. Joshua 3 & 4 recounts the Israelites crossing into the Promised Land after forty years wandering in the desert. To do this, they must cross the Jordan River at flood stage. Miraculously, God stops the flow of water as the priests holding the Ark of the Covenant stand in the water. Following God’s command, Joshua instructs one man from each of the twelve tribes to take a stone from the riverbed. He explains: “In the future, when your children ask you, what do these stones mean? Tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:6b-7). The handprints serve as our “standing stone” of God’s provision for us in the past and His promise to continue in the years ahead.
Each time we step over them we’ll think of how God carried us through this challenging time.