Chalk Line

Among the first tools I purchased for my own tool box was a chalk line. A few months ago, I was hanging eaves trough and couldn’t find the chalk line. A person can install rain gutters without a chalk line, but almost everyone will know. I looked in my three official tool boxes, some plastic storage containers and in all the junk drawers. The tool was gone.

I hired a friend to finish the job that was two feet over my head (read that courage). He told me he had forgotten his tool box containing his chalk line and wondered if I had one. So I told him the story I’ve just told you. I told him I would look again, but after thirty searches I couldn’t imagine finding it. I scoured the three major boxes, the plastic containers and all the junk drawers. Nope. We talked about possible options. I sorted through all those boxes for string and in my primary tool box in absolute plain sight—nothing covering it—there was my chalk line. I told Adam I had looked in the tool box 30-35 times. Probably an exaggeration, but without a doubt, I had looked 10-12 times. How could I have missed it? It is about 4 inches by 6 inches plus. Hardly miniscule.

A chalk line is string wrapped around a cone in a box of blue or orange chalk. Mine predated orange by several decades. The process is to hook one end on a nail and pull the string out of the metal container for a few or a hundred feet. You pull it taut around another nail at the far end and the snap the line. It leaves a straight line to guide things like foundations or roofing. Next to a plumb line, a chalk line is fundamental to quality construction.

November 9, 2016 has occupied my mind. We have talked about this election just this side of constantly. What will this country look like on the morning of November 9? What will have been set into motion? I’ve concluded madness has taken control and above everything else—this country has lost its chalk line!

I’m reading a biography of Winston Churchill. At his death, he was among the most honored and revered of men, Citizens from 110 nations had assembled–six monarchs, five presidents and fifteen prime ministers had assembled for the funeral. Stephen Mansfield writes

“…they were free to return to their lives in the world Sir Winston had worked to build, to the future he had struggled so valiantly to preserve.” (The Character and Greatness of Winston Churchill, ©1995, 2004, Cumberland House Publishing)

When the bunting, placards and speech notes are swept up on November 9—the day after the election—what shall we return to? Who will set the chalk line? Lord, whatever you plan to be doing on November 9–please schedule in mercy.

©2016 D. Dean Benton &

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