The Carpenter’s Son

We were in Lowe’s for two hours today.

Cedar or pressure treated? 

One raised garden bed or two? 

1x6x12 or 1x6x8?

At one point, around forty-five minutes in, an employee came over to check on me as I stood there frowning slightly and staring up into the rafters, “Need any help?”

“Hm? Oh, no man I’m just converting cubic feet to cubic inches in my head. You know…topsoil.”

We drive home with a pick-up full of wooden planks. My wife is chatting away next to me about work but I’m barely listening. The 4×4 post is staring at me in the rear-view mirror.

A hot uncomfortable feeling creeps up my neck and a knot twists in my stomach. I’m gonna have to cut that post seven times.

Seven. Straight. Cuts.

I can’t cut straight.

Table saw? No. Bandsaw? No. Hand saw? Hell no.

I don’t know what my block is. My measurements are ok, my pencil lines are straight, I’m comfortable around machinery, I even have a little table that clamps the wood down for me. 

My youngest sees a DIY project afoot and his excitement is palpable. He helps me carry the wood into the garage, hands me screws, and asks me questions. He’s amazed at the speed-square and spends most of the time making X’s on the wood and tracing straight lines.

I muddle my way through the cuts, (I tried the reciprocating saw this time. Honestly, what did I have to lose?) and in an hour of work the garden beds are complete.

It feels good to make stuff.

It feels really good to make stuff with your son for your wife so she can enjoy her hobby.

I wonder if this is why God chose a carpenter to be Jesus’s step-father. 

There isn’t a ton about Joseph in the Bible, but you get the sense he was a good dude. He takes care of his pregnant wife with a child that is not his own. He escape’s a king’s persecution and trots across the hot desert via mule. Not a great honeymoon, but he doesn’t complain. 

I thought of him today when I was with my son dodging splinters in the garage.

I like to think of Joseph in a shed or workshop with his son. He sands for hours. He measures and re-measures. Hammers pound nails and saws drone on in the summer heat. Did he curse when he got a splinter? Did he offer his son a swig from the wine jug after finishing a table and chairs when Mary wasn’t looking? Did they let out long sighs together as the cool water of the river washed off their sweat and sawdust?

Yes.

Joseph gave his son something even God could not. He gave him the experience of a working man. It isn’t easy to get up early every day. There are deadlines to meet, materials to buy, tools to sharpen and unhappy clients. It’s tough to find the joy in your work, but carpenters are true artisans. They have vision and patience. They push through the sore muscles and bloody knuckles.  Their reward is to look at that table or cabinet or chair with the tired happy feeling of a job well done, or a slap on the back and a heart-filled “Attaboy!” They are the few that can look at a rough piece of lumber and know the beauty and usefulness within it’s knot filled flesh.

Maybe this metaphor is a stretch, I don’t know. What I do know, is that the simple boxes I made today will have dirt and seeds in them tomorrow.

And from there, life.

-Mike Sposito

Owner Spowerks LLC

 

 


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