The old man showed up faithfully. Not a set schedule, unless a project was in the works. Woodworking allowed his strong hands to feel the timbre of the wood, to grow in his mastery of creating, honing and shaping, fitting and joining, sanding and smoothing, then finishing all with protective oil or sheen. All this springing out of an idea, a plan that he pictured in his mind. It was his happy place, even when the wood bowed, the saw bound, the plans challenged. Adjustments, and the practice of patient endurance, accompanied him overcoming every unexpected detour, worth the effort for the final joy of a well built, beautiful project. He blessed many with his offerings of useful and lovely things, his presence in the shop a blessing, too.
“You going to see your grandkids today?” became the barista’s usual morning greeting when the old man stopped at the drive-through. If yes, the barista knew what to add to the order. Some days nothing more than coffee…it depended.
Some of the old man’s family had bought his previous residence, his wood shop now part of their massive renovated garage. Respecting their privacy he’d text to let them know he was there, rather than intruding into their space. A quiet presence, he was available if someone wanted to chat. If not, he’d finish his tasks, text he was leaving and be on his way.
He missed the frequent visits when the grandkids were younger. Now in school with their parents working, it was tough to lose those precious times of fellowship. Time sped up with the passing of years. Soon those young ones would have no need for their old relatives, too busy with their interests. But not yet. Not today. Quiet feet skipped across the shop room floor. One of the happiest sounds in the universe, accompanied with smiles and hugs from precious grands.
“Hi, Papa! Did you bring mints today?” The old man reached deep into his pocket for the expected treat. If no pre-plans for muffin tops, hot chocolate, smoothies, egg sandwiches, or breakfast burritos, mints were his backup. The two younger hung around a bit, thanked him, then scooted off to play. The oldest stayed wanting to chat. It had been a good long while since the man and this granddaughter had had a good visit. Sitting next to each other on the two shop chairs the conversation ensued, interrupted only when the dogs needed fed. Continuing after, the two laughed and cried together for two hours, their tete-a-tete long overdue.
Even in those days when no one had time or interest for a visit, Papa worked at the shop just the same. His love for his family was deep and rich. He’d worked his life for the good of all of his family, caring, teaching, giving. His love never changed though life spun them away to live their own. Still, a yearning to share time with them remained, their presence a solace to his soul.
There is a place deep within one’s soul
Filled only with tender sweet repose
Timeless sharing with loved ones dear
Filling empty places one’s heart knows
A knitted tapestry’s woven threads
Strung on the loom from one’s birth
Inextricably linked through time
Though spaced just so by the weaver’s hand
Colors rich make the beautiful scene
Some bright with light contrast shadows dark
Yet still the threads are juxtaposed
Part of a glorious work of art
Wait patiently long woven threads
To intersect with newer ones
If greatly spaced in the grand design
You’re woven still through the end of time
1 Corinthians 13: 8a NKJV
“Love never fails.”