The Last Steps

It was a very hot and humid day. People who work outside for a living should just go home when it's like this. But if they did the world would stop spinning.

The world was going to stop for this man any way. I met him as he was putting the finishing touches on the front steps of a newly built home.

"I can't believe you are working in this heat," I said.

"I've worked in the heat, the cold, all kinds of weather. I worked in the middle of a hurricane once," the man replied.

He was a slender man. I'm surprised the hurricane didn't blow him away. His hands and face bore witness to what appeared to be decades of labor in the sun. I believe you could light a match on the back of his dried out hands.

"How long have you done this?" I asked.

"Since I was old enough to pick up a hammer," he said proudly. "But these are my last steps."

"Is there something wrong? You look like there's a few more miles left on you," I said.

"It's time for me to stop. Sometimes you just have to tell yourself, "Stop Already!" That's what I did this morning. My wife, God love her, got up early like she did for near 40 years to make me breakfast, hot coffee and a little inspiration. I looked in the mirror and said, "That's it." She said are you sure? I said sure enough!"

"You said she made you a little inspiration. How does she do that?"

"She takes the Bible and flops it on the table in front of me. Wherever it opens, she runs her finger down the page and where she stops, she reads. It's never failed to mean something special that day."

"What did she read today that made you say "That's it"?

"Genesis 2:2 "and on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work..."

"How significant was that to you?"

"I've been working nearly everyday of my life. Sundays included. My wife put up with it, but often times went to church on her own. Today being Sunday, she didn't flop the book down, she nearly threw it at me. It fell open to that page almost by accident."

"Why do you say almost by accident?"

He started laughing and shaking his head and said, "She had it paper clipped and underlined. I saw it as a sign. Not from God..." he laughed so hard he could hardly speak. "A sign from my wife!"

"So this is the last job?"

"Well, you can take the carpenter out of the job, but you can't make him put down his hammer," he said still chuckling. "But ultimately, these are the last steps."

"You must be proud of what you have accomplished in your life."

"You know most people have no idea what I do. They see me working as a carpenter. But I create "place." By that I mean that I create something from nothing and you call it home. Like these steps I'm finishing will lead this family into a safe place where dreams and love come alive. I've seen newly weds cross over my thresholds to begin a new life together. But I've also seen people carried out at the end of their lives, going out the door one final time," he said as he looked up at the new door on this home.

"In the places I've created celebrations were held. Servicemen came home to them, college kids left them and returned a graduate. The Christmas trees were erected in them and people of all faiths prayed in them. Laughter and tears were shared in these same places. I created them. Now it's time to stop."

He grabbed his hammer and with one final nail ended a lifetime of creation, commitment and headed off to his own place in time, making the last steps.

~ Bob Perks ~

[ by: Bob Perks Copyright © 2007 ( -- {used with permission} ]

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