Gratitude Day 564
Wed., Feb. 3, 2021
Psalm 38:9 – You, Lord, know every one of my deepest desires, and my noisy groans are no secret to you.
There’s almost always one squeaky step on a staircase.
We have a beautiful open staircase right when you enter our 1906 Victorian Farmhouse. It’s made out of quarter-sawn oat and let me just say: it’s GORGEOUS! When we moved into the house, the steps were covered with indoor-outdoor carpet. A fake-looking green that just didn’t fit with the house. We ripped up the carpet, which was glued and nailed down, only to discover steps that were in a desperate need of a make-over. It took about a year-and-a-half of painstaking effort and work. But now, the quarter-sawn oak steps are so beautiful to see. I think of Hubby Rick removing old stain with a toothbrush every time I climb up and down the stairs.
Another thing that happened every time I made a trip on the stairs? Noise from a squeaky step.
Halfway up the stairs, there is a nice big landing where the stairs take a 90-degree turn. It’s the first step on the second flight of stairs which squeaked. It didn’t matter if you stepped in the center of the step, or to the left or the right, it squeaked. When Hubby Rick came home at 4 AM or 5 AM or 6 AM in the morning, I often would hear him step on that step. We often joked that if we had teenagers in our house, they wouldn’t be able to sneak home past curfew. All because of this step.
Honestly, I simply thought the step would squeak forever. It was just how it is. Until last weekend. One night, I discovered Rick kneeling on the landing. Crowbar in hand. Removing the trim pieces so he could get to the very bottom of this particular step and fix the squeak.
Have I ever mentioned how creative Hubby Rick is? He has an innate sense of figuring out how to fix ANYTHING. I discovered a long time ago that our minds think very differently. And when it comes to anything physical that needs a fix-it job? I defer to Rick. Without a doubt. He has this unique way of fixing anything, I need fixed. It won’t be the way I would fix it. But that’s OK because Rick’s way is most often the far better way.
With the trim board removed, Rick shimmed little pieces of wood under the runner part of the step. This lifted the step just enough to stop the squeak. With the trim board back in place, the whole project took merely minutes.
And the squeak was gone.
Now, when I run up and down the steps, I can be as quiet as whatever footwear I have one. But here’s the deal. I kind of miss the squeak. I miss my foot hitting that step and knowing that I just have a few more steps to the top of the staircase. I miss that little “welcome” noise to the second flight. Maybe I’ve heard the squeak so many times that I just anticipate and expect the squeak.
Until the squeak was no more. And now, there is just silence.
Just like the step, we probably know someone who is a “squeaky” step; the one who harps and harps until their voice is heard. The person who isn’t afraid to speak their mind and share their opinion. They advocate for whatever their latest passion is.
These types of people are important. They speak out and defend positions and things that they are committed to. You rarely have to guess their position about something because, well, they aren’t afraid to speak their mind.
Sometimes, we roll our eyes at these types of people. Or anticipate they will have an opinion to express about a controversial change … and aren’t afraid to say it out loud.
There are times when we wish the squeaky wheel would be less opinionated. Quieter. More reserved. Whether they can’t help themselves or not, this is not who they are.
Can they be encouraged to be a little less squeaky? Yup. Will they heed the advice? I’m not sure.
Sometimes, we are the squeaky one with God. This prayer didn’t get answered. That request was overlooked. Why aren’t you doing just what I think should be done, dear God? Our wheel squeaks and squeaks and squeaks.
A squeaky wheel or step can be helpful. Good. Initiate change. Other times? We just want it to be quiet.
For some people, our squeak was annoying. Repetitive. Part of the trips up and down the stairs. And now that the little squeak is gone? I kind of miss it. I have stood on that step and moved my foot around, trying to find a place where it will squeak.
With no success.
Sure, the squeak could be a bit annoying. But it also made we aware that when something is important to me, it’s OK to speak up, as long as it is done in love. The quiet step also encourages me to know when to speak. And when to be quiet.
I know. It was just a simple step repair that took Hubby Rick all of 10 minutes. But this one little step certainly has me wondering about times that I should express my opinion. And other times, it’s more important to remain silent.
How do we know which path to take? I pray that listening with and for the Holy Spirit is a huge part of this process. It’s easy to depend upon my own instincts more so than God’s guidance. I pray that when it’s necessary for me to be the squeaky step, I do so with grace that is couched in love. Otherwise, I pray my silence allows for God to speak to my heart and get it closer to God’s heart each and every day.
For the fixed squeaky step, I am grateful.
Almighty God – You know the very inner most parts of our beings. You know our heart and our passion and our commitment better than anyone else. I pray that we are squeaky about the “right” things. I pray we find ourselves able to remain quiet when it is necessary. May we listen for the Holy Spirit to inspire us constantly. Amen.
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