Down to the hardware store I went and purchased nails and roofing tiles needed to finish the repairs I had started. By the end of the day, the repaired roof was back in place and I am happy to report all the rain is now staying outside of my garage.
Yesterday I woke up with nothing in particular on my to do list, so I decided to go out again to 'play' in my backyard. In my backyard on the south west corner of my house I have an old boarded up window into the basement that once was used as a coal chute, later a cold storage room, and more recently a nice place for busy little wasps to come on in and build their new home. After removing the wasps and their new little nest, I decided to take a look at the old boarded up window. When I say old, I mean even older than me! Even in worse shape than I. I found that with a little tap from my hammer and a little persuasion from my pry bar, the plywood and old wood frame easily fell apart, crumbled apart actually, and in about 20 minutes I had removed all the old wood and tossed it out onto the ground outside. This left me with a nice hole in the side of my house the approximate size of a old coal chute. The breeze was nice, but I suspected that my wife and child would prefer to have it closed up before winter or the next monsoon arrived, so I spent the rest of the day replacing the wooden frame with treated 2x6's and boarding it back up.
Back down to the hardware store I went for lumber and caulking and paint to finish my repairs. By the end of the day, the new boards were back in place and I am happy to report the creepy crawlies are all now residing outside of my basement.
You may detect a pattern here. All my repair projects seem to involve me making a big hole and then scurrying about the rest of the day visiting the hardware store for supplies needed to fill the hole back up, hopefully ending up with a repair that will last for another 70 years or so.
I am reminded of a story you all are most likely familiar with. It is called the Story of the Three Little Pigs. Remember how the first little pig decided to build his house out of straw and his brother deciding to build his house out of sticks and the last little Brother Pig wisely choosing to build out of bricks? They each ended up for a home to live in, for a time, until times of trial eventually arrived. Which seems to happen quite regularly ..
When I am doing my repair jobs around the house, I have a choice on how to do the job, on how much I want to invest in the work and how long I expect the repair to last.
When my repair project actually involves myself – something I have done or not done that needs to be repaired or replaced, I also have some choices. I can ignore it and hope nothing too bad comes of it. I can patch it up for now and hope to get around to fixing it better later, or I can choose to fix it now in the right way.
Back in 2007 Brother Dallin H. Oaks gave a talk in conference along the same lines, entitled 'Good, Better, Best'. He described shopping from the old Sears Roebuck catalogue and noting how each article was categorized as Good, Better, and Best in terms of quality. The implication was that even though the items described as Best were somewhat more expensive, they may be a better value because of how long they will last.
Of course, there is also the danger that we as imperfect humans sometimes take this concept too far and perhaps miss the mark. For example, I could spend a lot of time and money fixing up my mansion, installing towers, a gate and a moat, building large garages for my RV and my boat. In the worlds view, I would be considered successful. In the end, who decides if this choice would be Good, Better, or Best? It is not really up to you or I. There is no voting. It will be decided for us at the final judgement. He will let us know then if we are to be classified as a Good, Better or Best kind of person ..
Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Fixing up my house is Good to do .. but the house is unlikely to exist forever. One day, some one will likely decide to knock it down and build something bigger and better. Have my efforts to maintain it been in vain? Would it have been better not to even try? No. The thing I get to take from this experience is experience itself, besides being able to live in it for now. I am learning to build and improve myself and my surroundings. One day, perhaps I will be able to handle even bigger projects .. The concept of Good, Better, Best applies even more to what and who we spend our time on and how we live our lives rather than what things we acquire here. Yes we need a warm safe home to live in, physically. That is the good thing. We also need and warm safe home emotionally and spiritually. Better and best. Why not all three? What good is a mansion if there is no family to live in it? As Brother Oaks explains; “It is good to belong to our Father in Heaven’s true Church and to keep all of His commandments and fulfil all of our duties. But if this is to qualify as “best,” it should be done with love and without arrogance. We should, as we sing in a great hymn, “crown [our] good with brotherhood,” showing love and concern for all whom our lives affect.” and “To our hundreds of thousands of home teachers and visiting teachers, I suggest that it is good to visit our assigned families; it is better to have a brief visit in which we teach doctrine and principle; and it is best of all to make a difference in the lives of some of those we visit. That same challenge applies to the many meetings we hold—good to hold a meeting, better to teach a principle, but best to actually improve lives as a result of the meeting. We all have things in our lives to address. Maybe you have a leaky roof or a crumbling window. Don't wait. Fix it early while it is still minor and still just a Do It Yourself project. [if time] On preparing for the future .. I was pondering the story of the creation the other day. Unlike some in the world, I do not believe that we were created by a big bang or eventually by happy accident after millions of years. I believe we were created and placed here by design by a loving parent, our Father in Heaven. He has a plan for us and wants us to be happy. This earth life is essential to that plan. We need to experience life and learn to choose for ourselves. We need to grow up and become the capable responsible men and women we should and can be. In the beginning, God created the world. Can you imagine the work and planning that went into that alone? Not only the world was created, but also the Sun and Moon and the Stars. The way they rotate around each other through the Galaxy. The world is an amazing place. Everything we could need is here for us. Food to eat, air to breathe, and opportunity to work and learn and grow. How was it done? We only know bits and pieces. We do know that it was done and some of the reasons. We do not yet have the ability to fully comprehend just what is involved to be able to go out and do it ourselves.
I recall being about age 3 when our home in Calgary was being built. I remember peering down into the basement before the walls were framed. Back then, if given the task to build my own house, I suppose I would have started with a straw house. That is all I would be able to do. Today, I am a little older and wiser and capable. I could probably do a much better job on and stick and brick home – with some help from the hardware store. One day, I hope to be able to learn how to do the entire job.
It was stated this way in a talk by Keith Meservy (Jan 1986 Ensign): “Contemplating God’s marvelous works moves us to awe at his knowledge and power, to joy for the gift of life—for seed and soil, surf and sand, crag and tree, cloud and sun, bones and brawn; for companionship and offspring, for beauty and order, for sustenance and new beginnings, for creative opportunity and challenges, and for the confidence experienced in being entrusted with dominion over this wondrous world. All of this is enhanced for us as God recounts, at different times and in different ways, his role in creating our world and placing us upon it.”
I testify that God exists, that he cares for us and has a plan for us here. If we choose to follow him, we will be happy. He will reward our feeble efforts far beyond what we actually deserve, because we are his children and he loves us. He has provided an great plan of happiness and a Savior who has paid for our sins, if we choose the Good and live it to be even Better, we can end up with the Best.