Good Friday morning ...

"Just do it!"

Long before that phrase was adopted by Nike ... in fact, long before Nike even existed ... I was terribly familiar with those three words. It usually went something like this:

It was after dark and on Taylor Road in Norfolk County, Virginia there were no street lights, no subdivision glare, no bleed-over lighting from a nearby shopping center. It was just plain dark in the country.

Our small three-bedroom home stood on the front of our six-and-a-half acre "gentlemen's farm." On the east side of the house were several large fenced-in pastures bounded by a stretch of woods and a stream that fed into Drum Creek. On the west side was our huge garden which provided vegetables and fruits to feed the nine of us ... and then some ... and was bounded also by a stretch of trees and the meandering, muddy Drum Creek.

Out back of the house, removed some fifty feet or so, was a small, wood-framed pump house in which was stored our home-grown, canned vegetables, fruits, jams, jellies, juices, pickles, etc. Of course, it also housed the pump which provided our water from the well below it. Atop the pump house, perhaps twenty feet above the door, was a solitary 100 watt light. That single light provided the only nighttime illumination for anyone making his or her way to the pump house, the garage or the barnyard gate which led to the barns, the chicken coop and our family two-holer (as in outhouse).

On many occasions that 100 watt light was a child's delight for playing kick-the-can or hide-and-seek on a summer's night. But that was group play. There were other times when that 100 watt light was hardly enough! Such was the case when I first learned the phrase "Just do it!"

It was after dark, supper was long over, and every one was in for the night when my father noticed that the garage doors had not been closed. There was no such thing as an automatic garage door back in those days. Besides, these were homemade, swinging doors made out of reclaimed pallet lumber and pieces of heavy corrugated tin ... each mounted on sturdy, steel pins and swinging out from the center of the grage door opening. Each door was then held in an open position by a long, metal bar inserted into an eye hook. There was no possibility of those doors "swinging in the breeze" ... and there was also a "no tolerance standard" in the Engel household for those doors to be left open at night. That just didn't happen.

So my dad said, upon realizing the garage doors had been left open, "Richard! The garage doors are open."

"I didn't leave them open," I might have replied. Or, "I wasn't the last one in the garage."

"Well, they are open and they need to be shut and I am asking you to close them."

"But I'm ready for bed and I don't want to go out!"

"Don't make such a big deal out of it Richard! Just do it!"


And so I learned to race out the back door, jump off the back steps in a single leap, dash across the seventy earthen feet to the garage, unhook the retention bars with the quick flip of a hand, swing the double doors shut with a clatter of tin and insert the metal pin into the latch to secure them ... just about holding my breath all the way! Then I would briskly scramble back to the house lickety-split, close the screen door behind me and once securing its interior latch, leave all those fears of darkness behind ... until the next time I was told to "Just do it!"

There have been a lot more things that have frightened me in my life ... all of them considerably more fearsome than just running out to close the garage doors in the dark ... but there has always been something about saying to my self before the task, "Just do it!" And once the task is done, while  laughing at the fear that imposed itself on me, I am happy to  remind myself that "the Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you ... so do not be afraid." [Deuteronomy 31:8]

Have a great weekend in the Lord ...mindful of His presence everywhere and in every thing ...

Service Times

8:30 AM - Traditional Worship Service

9:40 AM - Sunday School & Bible Study Classes for all ages

11:00 AM - Contemporary Worship Service

Holy Communion is celebrated at both services on the first and third Sundays of each month.


Grace Lutheran Church & School

12200 McCormick Road
Jacksonville, FL 32225

(904) 928-9136