Monday, November 24, 2008
Foundations and Hope
We just had the foundation of our old 140+ year old barn repaired, and some work done to strengthen and support the barn floor, so we can finally drive a car in for the winter months.
The barn has three levels, and on this lowest level, the original stone foundation (second photo) was failing due to some drainage issues that had never been addressed by the previous owner.
Since this stone foundation wall is also the back foundation wall of the house, and sits at the edge of the driveway, it was mandatory to get it fixed, or we risked having the whole thing fall down, which somehow seemed like a bad thing. :-)
If you look close in that photo, you can see that the beams were being supported by small pieces of wood, sitting rather precariously on top of the wall. Besides this, there was considerable rot - when the contractor removed part of the floor above this in order to pour the new concrete wall and do the necessary repairs, one of those beams basically crumbled apart.
The contractor had to dig out a new footing in front of the existing stone foundation, pour a concrete footer, and then, with rebar reinforcements and considerable work done to support the forms themselves, poured 9 yards of concrete to form the new foundation wall, which is about 2 and a half feet thick and 24 feet long (first photo). They then put in new beams and joists in between the old original stripped log ones. These mortar and tenon joints are still good, but the additional support means we can drive both our vehicles into the barn. Since it's snowing right now as I speak, this will be much appreciated this winter. Getting out at the crack of dawn to scrape ice and snow off the windshield is less than pleasant.
I found it interesting that I have such a sense of relief now that I know the foundation is secure.
I guess, without realizing it, I've been sort of walking on eggshells knowing that the barn was
really sitting on a failing foundation. Everything seemed insecure. I walked gingerly over the floorboards of the barn, and wondered if it would hold up.
There are the obvious analogies to life of course. I've thought quite a bit about it as we've watched the progress on the barn and listened ad nauseum to the doomsayers on TV and radio about the current crisis.
Failing economy = insecurity. Neglected values and plain ol' common sense = crumbling futures.
Things can, and probably WILL, get worse before they get better, and we're in for some hard times. In the middle of all that, however, I have a sense of security because I know what I've built my life on. I have hope.
Our pastor described hope as "faith in the future tense". Not the wishful thinking kind of hope, but a firm conviction that I can hold onto the truth and find that it really is the truth. I do believe that Jesus is Who He said He was, and that the Bible is an accurate record of God's message to us. I've bet my life and future on that, and it's a good solid foundation. Better than 9 yards of concrete and steel. Here's the words of an old hymn that sort of say it best:
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood* and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
but wholly lean on Jesus' name
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand.
(*that refers to His death on the cross on our behalf)
I've heard it said that "we don't know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future."
I like that - and when I remember it, things dont seem so grim.