With the joy that I find in making sawdust, I realize actual results are not really that important. My experience during the process – one of discovery, learning, and connecting with the piece I am working with as well as anyone that might be there – is a living metaphor of living. Life is often hard to define. Yet in the moments of beauty and wonder, we know the joy of being alive.
I have been reminded that my father and others have left me with a unique gift. When we are together in the shop, everyone contributes. This is never about watching someone else do everything. It is about working, learning, discovering, growing, and being a part of something greater than your self.
Within the process, a critical component has always been the learning and the observations with it. We see life differently. Even an expert can benefit from the insights of a child. I look back and realize that there were unwritten rules we embraced when we came through the door. They included the idea that everyone could learn. Additionally, we were all equals, insights and discoveries are for sharing, and our collective insight is worthy of consideration. At times there was lots of influence, especially when it came to safety. In the end, the final decisions about the piece remains with the author.
I realize that my relationship with God has been shaped by my experience in the shop. The rules there apply here. We are in this together. It is always about doing the stuff of compassion, learning what it means to love, discovering God’s voice in Life, growing, and being a part of something greater. It also includes a very important mandate; I am responsible for the outcome. Reflection, decision, and choice rest within me.
An old writer’s question fits in this model. “Draw your own conclusions: When we drink the cup of blessing, aren’t we taking into ourselves the blood, the very life, of Christ? And isn’t it the same with the loaf of bread we break and eat?” (1 Corinthians 10.16)