It Is the Back Gate, Ya Know
By Jim Mitchell
I was helping a friend with a project recently—a two-day, 14-foot, back-gate project to be exact.
He ended up with a nifty new gate; I went home with a nifty new outlook. Though not without a little friendly confrontation midway through.
Things were challenging from the start.
We discovered the existing brick support pillars were not parallel—and they stood at differing heights due to the sloped surface underneath.
This would require some DIY magic to make the double doors meet flush in the middle and keep from sagging over time.
Day one taxed every bit of my modest carpentry skills. As the final moments of light (and energy) were fading, I was triple-measuring a board that looked about ¼ inch off. It had to be perfect!
My buddy, with the subtle sarcasm only a true friend gets away with, says to me, “Hey, thanks for doing that … but it is the back gate, ya know?”
With that, I sank the final screw and put down the drill so we could call it a day.
Then we grabbed a cold drink and shared a good laugh.
Mainly, about how I was treating his back gate like a high-end front door, when it was really just a way to keep the dog in.
And about how a good friend loves you even when you’re a little off-kilter.
Perfectionism always makes sense in the moment. We’d like a perfect spouse, a perfect home where everyone answers, “Yes! Right away!” But if you make a habit of sweating the small stuff, in your spouse or in yourself, you’ll miss the bigger picture.
Put down the drill and get on with life. (And when one of you is high-strung, help both of you laugh about it.)
It really is just the back gate.
The Good Stuff: Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:6)
Action Points: See something wrong today and overlook it. Then wake up tomorrow and laugh at how silly it was.
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