The City With Foundations


When I lived in Cupertino, before baby, and was teaching art and finishing my master’s degree, I found myself frustrated by the mundane day-to-day things. One of my biggest peeves was unlocking my front door. It was more complicated than it needed to be. I’d usually get home late at night, and the yard light may or may not have been on. After exiting the car, I’d stick my overly-heavy backpack on my back, then head to the trunk to bring in other things. This could include piles of papers or portfolios of artwork to grade, my toolbox of art supplies, my large portfolio of personal drawings, binders of curriculum, video & photo equipment, piles of library books, groceries, and other such things. I hated taking two trips, so I’d just pack it all on myself like I was some kind of pack horse or alpaca.
Then I’d get to the door, possibly in the dark because of no yard light on, and set some of the things down so I could use my finger to pry open the screen door, usually doing some kind of bendy-twisty dance because of the awkward shape of our entry – a wall on one side and a pointy shrub on the other. I’d use my foot to kick open the door, then dig through all of my pockets to find my keys (I never remembered which one I put them in). Finally, I’d stick the keys in the lock, then put pressure on the door at just the right angle to get my key to turn. The door would fly back and I’d have to grab my mass of things, now mostly dropped in piles around the sidewalk. My home entry would end with grabbing my stuff and tossing it just inside the door while repeatedly getting slammed on by the screen door and trying to keep the cat from escaping.
I hated getting through that front door so much that I once said to Josh, “I wish I could stand at that front door and just unlock it for three months straight and then never have to unlock it again.” While I’m sure he probably thought I was weird, I considered how cool it would be if you could sort of stock up on mundane tasks to get you through. What if the length of your shower was related to the length of time you stayed clean? What if you could wash dishes for a length of time only to have them stay clean for a proportionate amount of time afterwards? The truth is that, no matter how long your shower is, one step in the mud and you’re dirty again. And, no matter how long you wash a dish, one spoonful of baked beans dirties it again. And, no matter how long you spend unlocking your front door, you’re just going to have to do it again the next time you come home.
Why do I write about this? Because I made a great realization recently. This life is where I am stocking up on mundane tasks. I’m doing lots of hard things now – boring things, tedious things, annoying things. I was reading Hebrews 11 and was struck by verse 10. Here it is in context:

 8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Abraham was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Everything I do now, whether mundane or otherwise, are temporary to my life on this earth; I am living in tents. But I, like Abraham, look forward to the city with foundations. That thought puts everything in perspective to me. Everything I experience here is a blip on the screen compared to an eternity spent worshipping my God.