Concrete and Gaza

Steps under construction
Steps under construction

My exciting news is that our newly poured concrete steps can be walked upon today. Yes, it takes little to make me giddy.

Little? Actually concrete for construction is a big freaking deal to some people. Like in the Gaza Strip. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

Over the past week, I hired a crew from Patrick Masonry & Concrete here in Portland to build me some new front steps. The previous steps had been poorly constructed and were falling apart. The metal railing had nearly broken off, and I was growing increasingly concerned that the mail carrier or an elderly neighbor would slip on the crumbling steps and crack their skull.

Sidewalk alongside the house
support for new slab
protection from rain

Patrick showed up within 30 minutes of my cold call. The very next day the old concrete was gone and the wooden forms were in place. By Thursday it was done. Friday morning they removed all their gear except for the orange cones and the temporary mailbox down at street level. Since it had been pouring rain most of the week, the concrete was drying slowly, and he suggested that we stay off until Sunday – today!

Ready for walking!

All week I thought of Palestine. Enduring warring civil factions, Israeli blockades, bombings and terrorism from multiple sources, increasing Egyptian border control, joblessness and the looming thoughts of despair always hovering and waiting for the chance to swoop in and devastate a family…  my steps are an example of the wealth and opportunity in the United States of America.

Gazans don’t have access to concrete, nor access to many construction opportunities. With the opportunity to pour this amount of concrete, they would certainly use it for something more critical. I am almost ashamed at my frivolousness in comparison.

We all seek our personal joys and life goals in the setting we are dealt. It is conflicting to think too hard on my achievements when others don’t even have the chance to try it. However, I think my job is to be the most I can be with what I have. Thus, I’ll continue to be thrilled at my new concrete steps, I’ll wallow in the joy of rebuilding my gardens on either side of it, since they were damaged during construction. I’ll savor the security of knowing my little girl, the neighbors, the mail carriers and everyone else will now have safe passage on my property.

slab and curved walk
Slab and curved walk

I will continue my awareness of the struggles of others, and be grateful when I am afforded opportunities. I will try not to squander my precious gifts.

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