What does work mean to you?

My Dad worked for Walker Air Force base, located in Roswell New Mexico.  I was born in Roswell in 1958.  My Dad had been working for Walker for a few years before I was born.  Dad started in Base Supply.  He told me stories of rolling airplane tires around the warehouse along with a helper, because they were so big and heavy.  My Dad was infused with hard working “Ganas”.  In Spanish, Ganas means “Desire”.  Ganas describes Initiative and wanting to accomplish something.  My Dad knew how to work.  It was imbued into his bones.  He had Ganas for life. 

One of the best gifts my Dad ever gave me was his Ganas to make something of his life.  He did.  My Dad accomplished a lot in his life.  He and my Mom were partners in their quest to make things better for themselves and for their family.  That desire to make something of my life and to make things better for me and my own is what he spilled into me.  Me and my wife Lupe were married in 1980.  In 1979 a few months before we were married, I managed to scratch up a down payment for a tiny little house in Lubbock Texas, our hometown.  Our little house only had 800 square feet in total when we started.   It was 4 rooms and a bathroom.  No air conditioning.  Gas lines into the 4 rooms to supply fuel to the match lit space heaters.  It was in one of the original neighborhoods in Lubbock.  The neighborhood was filled with aging retirees.  Elderly couples that had built their small homes years before and were then experiencing them falling into disrepair and being acquired by landlords.  The neighborhood was already getting scruffy and losing its heyday of quaint, simple maintained homes lining the simple north south, east west oriented streets.  Simple but nice.  When I found the house, the neighborhood was beginning its’ slide into a ghetto. 

I found the empty little run-down house because it was all I could afford.   When I moved to Lubbock, I knew no one.  I had no credit.  I was on my own.  I was just a scruffy, young man myself.  A scruffy young man who wanted something to invest in, even before me and Lupe were married.  I found the house and I was interested in what it could be transformed into with some passion, work, and perseverance.  The house was empty when I found it.  I looked through the windows into the empty rooms and I saw possibility.  No one living on the street knew who owned the house.  I finally went down to the City Tax office, and I found the name of the woman who owned the house.  I drove to her home and walked up her sidewalk.  I rang the doorbell and waited.  Finally, the door opened about 2 inches and I saw an elderly woman looking through the door crack with palpable hesitation and trepidation.  I introduced myself to her and then I asked her if she might be interested in selling her small home?  After a bit of hesitation, she relaxed a bit and opened the door crack just a little more.   She looked me over with discerning eyes and after a bit, she told me, “I think I might be interested in selling it”.   After a few days, we settled on an asking price of $11,000. 

I had managed to save $1000 that I had ready for a down payment.  We went to her attorney and had a simple contract drawn up.  I gave her the thousand dollars and managed to talk her into a monthly payment of $160.  She financed the note herself with an interest rate of about 5%.  This was where Lupe and I started in 1980.  When our children were born, they were Loved, Cradled and Cherished in that small home in the early years of their lives.  Lupe and I poured our passion, sweat and frugal money into transforming that little house.  I learned my construction skills in that small house.  I became a carpenter.  I became a tile setter.  I became a drywall man.  I became a framer.  I became a cabinet maker.  I became a roofer.  I became a fence builder.  I became a landscaper.  I learned how to get down and dirty with the best of them.  On many occasions, I had sweat pouring down my face and into my eyes as I worked.  I poured my ganas into seeing that little house become a real home.

There were times, I was confused and trying to find the solutions to my construction problems.  I was confused at times, but I never gave up.  I made many mistakes.  I learned to rectify my mistakes and I tried to avoid them in subsequent projects.  I learned.  Through all those experiences, I was frustrated many times.  I was frustrated at times, but when the project came to fruition, I experienced God’s pleasure.  To work with our hands and our minds, our passion, our vision, our sweat and our drive is what gives God pleasure.  Work is one of the most profound gifts we can be given.  I tried to instill this into both of my children.  They both know how to roll up their sleeves and get into the nitty gritty of a project.  It has helped both of them, stay centered and to work with passion, perseverance and grit. 

I hope the next time You are immersed in some kind of tough project, You feel God’s pleasure through your effort and trying.  The key to it all is to strive to find some balance.  We need to work hard and make things happen, but we also need to slow down and enjoy the downtime in between. 

Lupe and I fixed up that little house.  We paid it off.  Then we borrowed a little money with the collateral we had created.  We put an addition onto that little house.  We doubled the size of the home with our 2nd bathroom and shower, our laundry room, and our big, vaulted family room.  That was where our family started.  It was where our family melded into a tight union of Love, Care, and Ambition for our future. 

When the work gets hard, I hope You wipe the sweat from your eyes and You Lean, Lock and Roll into your Ganas to make it happen…