We recently had some minor alterations done to the house, and that started me thinking …

Andrew:    Hello, what are we up to today, my friend?

Wilhelm:    Dunno what you’re up to, my china, but I’m fixing this door.

Andrew:    Isn’t it a new door?

Willem:    Yes, the carpenter put it in this week, R1350 to split, reframe and hang it.

Andrew:     It looks good to me. Wow! Feel how smooth this pine is. Why on earth are you using coarse sand paper on it when it’s so smooth? Aren’t you messing it up?

Willem:    Ja, it looks good and it feels good, but at the moment it’s no bloody good!

Andrew:    Come again?

Willem:    It’s no bloody good! What’s a door supposed to do?

Andrew:    Like, open and close?

Willem:    Exactly! You’re doing well today, my china!

Andrew:    So?

Willem:    The left-hand side doesn’t close against the magnetic catch. This strip here catches the door at the bottom when it closes. So it wants to come open again.

Andrew:    What’s that strip for?

Willem:    You check how great this door frame looks? Nice, fancy architrave, hey?

Andrew:    Ja.

Willem:    This thing is damn skew. Looks good, but it’s vrek skew. This strip is to compensate. The hinge is recessed a little at the top and a lot at the bottom. That makes it properly upright.

Andrew:    And?

Willem:    Well, it’s so recessed at the bottom that the strip needs to be sanded back before it closes properly, like I mos told you.

Andrew:    And this nice smooth piece you’re attacking with P40?

Willem:    Ja, it’s nice and smooth, hey? And it’s a nice fit, hey?

Andrew:    Yes, looks great to me.

Willem:    But what will happen when this nice smooth wood has been painted?

Andrew:    Ah, it won’t close.

Willem:    Ah, you twig sharp, my bru. It won’t bloody close. What’s the point of it looking good when it doesn’t fit?

Andrew:    So you’re making it a bit smaller?

Willem:    That’s it. I’m taking it down with P40, and then I’ll use some P100 and round off with P180. Then you won’t know the difference. It’ll be as smooth as a baby’s bum AND it will fit when painted. So it’ll look good and be good.

Andrew:    You know ….

Willem:    What?

Andrew:    That’s the perfect illustration of what God –

Willem:    Not again, your damn holiness! Can’t you keep God out of it, man? I don’t believe in your God and you know it!

Andrew:    No, but look, seriously: this sort of explains what God does. We think we’re OK and life is going smoothly; and then he comes along and roughens it up to make us better fit his purposes. You’re making space for paint and he makes space for grace.

Willem:    If you like I’ll sand you with P40 and a belt-sander!

Andrew:    Seriously, Willem, you’ve explained something that’s bugged me and is a huge challenge for me, seeing so many minor things upset me.

Willem:    What’s that?

Andrew:    All this roughening up in my life is to get rid of the bumps and bits and make me fit God’s purposes.

Willem:    You’ve got some bumps and bits to come off? Just pass me that chisel. I’ll start with your tongue; then you can shut up about religion, so help me –

Andrew:    So help me –who?

Willem:    Oh shut up!