4. Progress

I guess I was about twelve years old when my father bought me this neat model airplane at a local hobby shop. Unlike the models I’d worked on before, this one was made of balsa wood, not plastic. It looked like it was going to be hard to build. And it was. Really, there is no way that I could’ve put that plane together by myself. But I’m sure my father knew that before he bought it; he knew this was going to be a team project.

Because it was going to take a while to assemble, we decided that the attic would be the best place for us to work. So it was there that we set up a card table and started laying out the pieces.

Seeing everything spread out on the table, I could tell then that it would definitely be my father and not I who would be doing most of the building. But that was okay. I just enjoyed watching the progress and being with my father. For several months, we worked on that plane whenever we had the time. I would help read the instructions and find pieces while he used a razor knife to shave some of the wooden parts before gluing them up.

I remember watching as the plane took shape and thinking of just how smart my father was. The last couple of steps in the construction were to put the “skin” on the plane and then paint it. My father knew exactly what he was doing. He told me that he’d put together balsa wood models when he was a boy and that he was familiar with all of the steps.

After several months of work, the plane was painted and ready for the final delicate step of applying the decals. I remember my father announcing the job complete when he’d carefully put the last U.S. Air Force insignia on the plane’s wing. With the job finished, my father helped me to hang it in my room, and there it remained for the next thirty years. It was a beautiful reminder of a father/son project well done.

Days 4-6 Guide

Most of the time, meaningful progress demands patience. Things just don’t all come at once. The spirit of Joyous Gard is one of enduring patience, and the construction of the place of Joyous Gard is a work in progress.

© 2005, Levi Hill


(my war-torn plane after hanging in my room for thirty years)

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