Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

Bastante Part II

leave a comment »

When I went to the gulf coast to help out after Hurricane Katrina I had the privilege of helping to finish a house for a family who had lost theirs.

On my team was a school teacher, a pastor, a judge, a car mechanic, a secretary, a professional home contractor, and myself.

Guess who won MVP for most useful volunteer that week?



If you guessed “The judge” You’d be right. If you guessed ”me” you’re a suckup, and if you guessed the “professional home contractor”, you would be very very wrong. He was the most problematic person to work with, far worse than the secretary who had no idea how to work a hammer.

Randall wasn’t a licensed general contractor, but he worked for one. and he spent day in and day out installing drywall, and filling holes, and painting houses for rich and famous people who generally looked down on a manual laborers.

When he came on the trip and found out we would be finishing houses he was understandably excited to be the expert for once in his life. Now finally he could clearly use his gifts to glorify God as a great drywall installer.

drywall-installerUnfortunately Randall didn’t understand that this was not a crew of professional, that we had a hard time limit, or that this was not the family of a B list celebrity with 6  other homes like the people he worked for in LA. He became hyper focused on doing the job perfectly (because he knew how to) and lost sight of the ability to just “get it done”

He didn’t understand bastante.

Randal was so critical of other people’s work, so bossy, demanding they do things over again if he didn’t approve, and so slow, that eventually the team leader assigned him to work on the kitchen by himself. He could do the kitchen perfectly, everyone else would finish the rest of the house.

… At the end of the week the rest of the house was livable. It wasn’t perfect; the drywall was splochy under the paint and the ceiling texture was uneven, but it was a nice house. I would live there.

But the kitchen wasn’t done

The kitchen had the nicest, cleanest, smoothest mudding job I’ve ever seen. But it wasn’t painted, and the fixtures weren’t hooked up, because Randal never got to that and he wouldn’t allow any of us to do it and “ruin it” so the family didn’t get to move in to their house…they had to wait for a case management team to come by and assess it, and then find a way to assign another team, and I have no idea how long it took but it couldn’t have been easy to get a team out to do just half a kitchen. And when they did I’m sure it was done hurriedly as an after thought, and they splattered the paint.

It was just not a reality that we could have given away a perfect house, or even a house with a perfect kitchen. We could have given away a good house, a nice house, a bastante house. Doing worse work, faster, was much better in this case (more glorifying to God) than work of the highest possible quality.


Written by RyanGaffney

September 12, 2011 at 4:26 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: