Half a Bubble Off

By Marcy Barthelette

Construction details have comprised a large part of our lives for the past few years. It began in our own home when we decided to upgrade the shower in our master bath. It appeared to be a very manageable task for the two of us. Ken has considerable experience in plumbing and electrical work plus basic construction knowledge. I am quite adept in the finishing aspects of remodeling and am willing to get dirty in the trenches. However, we started to realize that we were looking at challenges when the measurements of all the basic shower parts had changed through the twenty-something years since our home was built. We trudged on through the reconfiguration of walls that were not square or plumb, the remediation of mold, and considerable insecurities about upgrading old plumbing until finally the shiny new shower was installed and the finishes were complete.

Then came the remodeling of two existing buildings for the Christian County Library, of which Ken has served as a trustee for nearly 13 years. Though he wasn’t physically involved in the upgrades, he kept a watchful eye over all the goings-on and there were plenty of issues to solve, many involving walls that had settled into a state of being unsquared and not plumb. Following those renovations, two new libraries were built from the ground up, and even then, some floors were not completely level, nor do all walls manage to be absolutely square and plumb, even with all the technological advances in construction.

You may have heard the term, “half a bubble off”, which refers to the bubble in levels used to assure that walls are perfectly level and plumb, level referring to the horizontal line and plumb to the vertical aspect. Half a bubble off converts to serious structural problems if one continues to build with only casual respect for that level.

Likewise, if you’re a camper, you probably know that if your trailer or RV is not properly leveled, the refrigerator will not run efficiently nor will water drain properly or other features perform optimally. This can result in costly repairs if ignored over a period of time. Newer and fancier models will do the leveling for you with the touch of a button, but we still have an old-school model that requires manual leveling. When setting up our camper, our goal is to be no more than a quarter bubble off when our level is set in the freezer compartment of the camper refrigerator. When the bubble tells us we are not within tolerance, that means adding leveling blocks under the appropriate wheels until the desired degree of leveling has been achieved.

And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. 1 Peter 2:5  

There are certainly days when my life feels at least half a bubble off. Even without the difficulties presented by COVID, the accumulation of little annoyances that occur in everyday living can create a mountain of stress and even cause serious health issues. So, just as a construction crew must start by becoming intimately familiar with a detailed set of blueprints, we also need a blueprint for living. We must start with a strong foundation, the Word of God. Then we must add excellent quality building blocks that nurture a straight and true path of faith, love, and servanthood. It is there that we find true peace and joy.

The winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

Matthew 7: 25

We’re getting our little camper outfitted for our first trip in a year and a half, and the excitement is building. Wherever we go throughout this camping season, our camper bubble will stay right in our console, readily available to assure that we are within the proper tolerance to keep everything working properly. As we travel, we’ll also apply our “life level” by praying for safe travel for ourselves and others. We’ll greet our temporary neighbors with the light of God’s love and try to keep smiling even when one of those neighbors gets cranky. And most of all, we’ll truly enjoy the beauty of God’s creations, the human ones in all their various personalities and the natural ones that will comprise the panoramic vista that is our home away from home. Our permanent foundation is the same wherever we may be, and we will strive to add sturdy, level building blocks all along the way.

The Bible is God’s chart for you to steer by, to keep you from the bottom of the sea, and to show you where the harbor is, and how to reach it without running on rocks or bars. Henry Ward Beecher


**It’s time, once again, to thank each of you for following my writings. I hope they are God-inspired and that my words may always be His words. If they have helped someone along life’s way, He gets all the credit. Thank you sincerely for your supportive comments, whether posted on the blog, otherwise sent electronically, or offered in person. Each one means so much to me and reaffirms your commitment to Him. We both thank you! Every day, may you feel the loving touch of His hand!


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