We saw the city skyline in the distance along with some pretty dark clouds coming right over it too. But we were in St. Louis, Missouri, somewhere my husband and kids had never been, and going to see the big ‘ole arch was on the list of things to do on our trip.
After getting lunch right outside the city, we drove in and not knowing exactly where to park, we pulled in to one of the first lots we saw empty parking spots. We got our rain gear out because looking on our phone weather app we knew it was coming but if we walked fast enough maybe would get to the arch just in time to beat the storm.
Well we didn’t.
We were walking on one of the main city streets following the arrows on the sidewalk pointing to the visitor center and the clouds dumped out buckets and buckets of rain. It fell hard and we finally got under a small awning that led into an sky rise apartment building. I think we stood there for about 20 minutes but even though the rain hadn’t stopped it had let up so we kept on our track.
When we got to the visitor center, we faced the highest arch in the world – the Gateway Arch – also called the Gateway to the West. By now the clouds had also broken up and rays of sun were squeezing out on the gold cross on the church beside the arch.
I had visited here when I was a senior in high school when I came to a church youth conference with some friends. I remember going up into the arch but I don’t recall the 25 minute documentary we watched prior to our ride in the tiny, enclosed pod up in the arch. Probably because we were 17 years old and more interested in each other than a history lesson on the screen.
But this time I paid attention to it and it was fascinating. It’s called Monument to the Dream, and tells the story of how the idea was conceived all the way until the last exterior piece was put into its place in 1965. One of the reasons I liked the video so much is because it was created in 1967 and is still being played today and it included the words and voice of the acclaimed architect of the arch Eero Saarinen.
When the documentary starts, you can hear the sound of the wheel turning on the movie projector and the crackling sound that video’s back then sounded like. The story is then told how the Eero had this idea, sketched it out on a piece of paper and amazingly not much longer, ground was broken to start making this enormous dream.
My husband was probably intrigued hearing the science and structural techniques of how this massive piece of art was erected. Although that was pretty impressive that those men figured out how to haul tons and tons of steel just the right way to form the tallest arch ever, something else caught my attention.
Yes, a man was whistling a happy tune while he was risking his life working on what can be a deadly endeavor. With a construction hat on his head, hanging high in the air by a rope, while being responsible for tons of steel having to fit precisely into place at the perfect angle – he’s whistling.
Is that guy crazy or what?! I can’t imagine the pressure and stress that job must have been! Risking my life like that, I think would give me a heart attack.
I think what made that worker whistle isn’t only his outlook on life, but also because his boss was cheering him on.
That was the other part of this documentary that caught my attention. As the workers were doing their difficult job, their manager was calling out to them on his megaphone, “It looks good boys!” or “You’re right on the money, boys!” When they had someone behind their backs, supporting and encouraging them, it had to give them the confidence they needed.
I want to live life that way though. Where even in the most stressful parts of life I can still make the most of whatever situation I face. You too? To be a risk-taker with a happy heart. To take responsibility for things that seem overwhelming or impossible.
I don’t want to live stress-full but instead care-full.
Let’s care fully for others. Let’s be humble, thinking of others as better than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3) God wants us to be generous and helpful not only when things in life are good – but even more, care for others when we’re under stress or challenging times. It causes us to depend on Him even more, the way it’s supposed to be.
Let’s whistle while we care fully for others and depend totally on God.
(Can humming count? I’m a better hummer than a whistler!)