These may well be the most daunting three words ever printed – Some Assembly Required.  Not my favorite thing to see on a box.   I prefer the assembly part of the purchase to be included as a standard rule and a best practice.  Just sayin’.  Maybe that’s why I don’t buy a lot of puzzles.

We purchased a gazebo from the nice folks at Costco this spring.  Maybe you’ve seen them on display at your local store.  They look amazing (and assembled) there in the center section of the warehouse giant.  The price was significantly cheaper than what it would take to build one from scratch so we pulled the trigger.

The stocky back-room fellas loaded the 10’ x 12’ unit (crammed in 3 seriously heavy boxes) into the back of my truck.  It took a forklift to get it in there.  I was grateful for their help and wondered if they’d come unload it with me.  I even asked one of the guys.  He grinned and shook his head no. 

Some assembly required, Craig. 

Once home, my son-in-law helped me unload it in the garage where it sat for about a month.  I looked at it each time I pulled in or pulled out, excited to finally have a shade structure out back but putting off the day when I’d have to start unpacking and assembling that big thing.

After a month of the stacked boxes serving as oversized coffee tables in my garage it was go-time.  Some assembly required was about to meet up with a month’s worth of pent-up postponement.  My wife was excited to have a new gazebo out back.  Our daughter and son-in-law were around to help and they, too, were excited to assist.  I, on the other hand, was more in the range of kinda-excited.  I was determined but excited…excited was a stretch.  (I was, however, thankful for their enthusiasm and help.)

“Some Assembly Required” we sang out as we headed out back.  I smiled and grinned as we began, knowing what we were endeavoring to do would be a whole-bunch of assembly. 

It took us a few hours to unpack and organize the pieces.  John likes this kind of thing and Katelyn, our sweet youngest child, is always willing to help her daddy.  Perhaps she sensed the pensive gurglings going on inside of me.  As we unpacked I noticed a phone number in the instruction manual that rivaled the thickness of a Grisham novel.  I read the fine print next to it, hoping it would direct me to a crew I could call to come put all this together for me.  Nope.  It was a number to call if you felt there was a part or two missing.  I could not imagine that to be the case, seeing all that was already strewn about on our patio. 

We worked most of the day on Saturday, all morning on Sunday and then again Sunday night till 10pm.  Then we worked the better part of Monday until, at last, the gazebo was up and there were no extra pieces laying around except a couple dozen screws and bolts, which I am praying they had included as extras.  I’m sure they were, as we read and followed our Grisham novel page by page and picture by picture.

When we finished and had cleaned up the mountain of cardboard and packing material I was grateful and proud.  Some assembly was now fully assembled and we had followed the instructions, tightened everything down, measured well and finished strong.  It truly is a remarkable accoutrement to our back yard and will be wonderful as the summer sun comes out in full force now.

Life is a some-assembly-required life.  There are many parts and details that come together to make up the me that I am and the you that you are.  It really is the human condition.  We are becoming someone amazing, someone that we currently are not yet.  We are  seriously awesome works of profound, mysterious, some-assembly-required beauty.

David, the poetic young shepherd who became the beloved King of Israel penned these words, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.” (Ps139:14 NLT if you want to read it).  I admire how he grew to understand and appreciate the process that he was in, how his some-assembly-life, complex as it was, was underway by a master craftsman guiding and building into him.  As we grow older we can see this more evident in our life too – assuming we look.

Be patient – God’s not finished with me yet was a bumper sticker that I used to see from time to time.  I used to think it was kind of trite.  These days I find the sentiment to be rather poignant.  I am still a work in progress and probably have a screw or two loose somewhere.  But God is not done with me and I’m glad.

Today I’m grateful that God finishes the work He begins, that He sends good people to get their hands a little dirty helping me become who I’m becoming; people who see a little clearer picture of the good man that is emerging from the various yet well designed pieces that are my life.  I hope that I am one of those people helping in some of your lives as well.

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish…  Paul to his friends in Philippi (Phil 1:6 MSG)

I haven’t the slightest doubt that this is true for you and I today.  We are coming to a flourishing finish, even if folks like me (you?) flinch a bit at the whole idea of some assembly required. 

Some assembly required –  we’re all in this together.  Thanks to all the kind folks out there that have made life a little richer along the way.  If you need a little shade as you travel, please know there’s some room under the gazebo at our place.  I could probably find you something cold to drink while we relax there.

Peace to your journey, friends.  God is working with and on us with great care and affection.

*Props to my father in law and brother in law for rounding out the gazebo construction crew team.  No way would we be done until August if you hadn’t come by to help.  Thank you!

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