Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Hands of My Father

I can see them now, weathered and slightly bent with arthritis after years of making and building. My father held possibility in his hands.

We are all makers, creators fashioning a poem, a painting, a song, a cabinet, a life. We all live on the edge of creation and our hearts, minds and hands play a role.

Some say we are the hands of the Divine, a way for creation to unfold in ever more beautiful and complex ways. As we were created, so we create.

And what compels us to will something onto a blank canvas or form something from a lump of clay? We see beauty and desire to bring more of it into the world. Something inside us wishes to be brought forth. Or perhaps it’s our very soul unfolding as a rose slowly unfurls to know the light and express its essence.

I played in the sawdust left by my father’s making. It was soft and I can still smell its freshness. As parts of the wood became dust the rest began to look like something.

Before I was born the wood that passed through his hands became our house and later it became boats used to reach our island cabin, a rocking elephant painted in full parade regalia, simple toys like a car and airplane.

His hands picked up markers and made beautiful letters on paper, letters that became dozens of birthday cards with drawings of the latest animated characters or puppets.

Paint brushes passed through his hands as he painted his wooden creations, a giant crib board that served as a bench, our tables, couch and chair, a cousin’s crib and dresser. His hands carefully held brushes that styled letters for business signs.

And when I was small, his hands held me, an expression of him, my mother and the Divine.

But one day his hands began to shake and the making became nearly impossible. I saw and felt his frustration. What does a maker do when they can make no more?

My father taught me to take time every day to create, to make, to express the gifts you are given. And so here I sit and write and make something for you to read, something I hope inspires and moves you to pick up that pen or clay or paintbrush. At this moment you stand on the edge of creation. What will you make?

I came across this quote from Ray Bradbury that I had to share. He definitely had the heart of a maker.

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.

  ~Ray Bradbury

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