Half a Bubble Off

My wife and I just completed a do-it-yourself back yard makeover project. One of the additions was to build a bench that required stones to be built up on each end about four to five feet high. The main rocks we chose were rough-cut stones, but the topper rock was smooth and flat.

When I got finished, it was a half to a full bubble off on both sides—one worse than the other. I could see it. My wife could see it. One next-door neighbor told us it was fine, that with a pot of flowers on it no one could tell. (She was probably just trying to make me feel good.) But our neighborhood is built on hills, so my back yard neighbor’s deck is a good 15 feet above my back yard. We’re friends, so he told me he could see from his much higher perspective that it was off enough to need fixing. I knew he was right.

So, this past Saturday, I went to Lowe’s and got a pack of shims, grabbed the 4-foot-level, and tore the rocks back down to the base. As I built up each layer, I worked with it, using the shims where needed, taking my time to get it right using the level at several angles, as I went.

As I put the top, flat layer on, working shims under a few of those too, I was within the level lines anywhere you placed it. The bubbles don’t lie. This time, it was right. I could see it. My wife could see it. Both neighbors agreed it was right. That evening, over at my back yard neighbor’s house, from his 15-foot higher viewpoint, I could see my project was level, even at that distance.

Here were my choices after the first build that was clearly off …

—“It’s fine. I don’t really care what anybody else thinks.”

—“I agree with my neighbor who says its close enough.”

—“I disagree with my back neighbor. Who’s going to look at it from his yard at that perspective anyway?”

—“Stupid level. The crazy thing is never accurate anyway. I’m sure I built it right and the bubbles are just off.”

—“I’m going to break it down and do it right, using the constructive criticism and the proper tools.”

We all have multiple “projects” going on all the time in the form of relationships, business dealings, interactions, and the like. When you realize something is just not right, something that matters is a “half a bubble off,” which choice above do you tend to make? Consider a couple of your situations you’re in right now that aren’t level and you know it. Maybe it would be good to reevaluate your perspective and your choice.

The path of right-living people is level. The Leveler evens the road for the right-living. We’re in no hurry, God. We’re content to linger in the path sign-posted with your decisions. Who you are and what you’ve done are all we’ll ever want. —Isaiah 26:7-8 MSG

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