Flecks of sawdust spun up and around my face, gently pricking my cheeks and occasionally catching the corner of my eye (protective glasses absently on my head). I eased the spinning saw again into the wood, watching as the blade made grain give way to air. Watching the wood disapear to blade gives me great joy, just the simplicity of a straight line and obedient wood (or at least semi-straight and semi-obedient).
My friends came over today with their families to help me build my tree-house. Actually it’s for the kids, but since they hardly ever go up there and I’ve been slaving away at it for over a year, it’s sort of mine. And I guess it’s “slaving away” if I consider all the time I spend just thinking about doing it and procrastinating. And then if I factor in all the should and ought-to feelings that generally rule my life as a chronic procrastinator then yes, I’ve been slaving.
But as I worked today, with friends beside me, watching wood obey the drill. my hammer (every other swing) and my hands I felt satisfaction. I also felt anxiety. Leading friends in a work project is hardly my field of expertise. I doubt my leadership qualities all the time. But I am dubious, indubitably dubious and prone to second guess everything – it’s the writer in me.
Yet these friends were kind enough to listen when I told them I felt anxiety leading them, and they didn’t run away. I need friends like that, friends that won’t run away when they see my neediness. Friends that don't run from you are good. One even waved to the tree-house, trying to open my eyes to help me celebrate, “Phil, you made all that. It is amazing!”
And well, I’m not being prideful when I agree it is amazing. The tree-house stands eight feet off the ground, is attached to big evergreens and is like a wood castle in our firn covered swamp/yard. I’ve lined the actual house with wood from a friend’s old deck. Rotting and black with mold, he was going to chuck it. But I took it, ran my saw along it and saw bright reddish pine (I think) underneath. Propping the boards on their edge and running my saw along the wood’s surface I’ve pretty much ruined my saw, but the woods rough look on the house makes me happy, it looks so rugged. And I feel that the wood is worth more anyway. Salvaging is good for my soul. So yeah, it is amazing. My tree-house is amazing. And with a little help, I’ve made it. Almost.
In Genesis I’m told that I’m made, perhaps carved, in the actual image of God. It’s a little crazy to actually believe it. That I bear the actual stamp of God. But that’s not enough, I don’t just have God’s creative stamp I’m made in his actual image. Making a tree-house is fine work, work that fulfills and that I enjoy. Imagine making a human being. Imagine pouring yourself into that creature. Imagine the joy you would have at seeing it come to be. To exist. And to have it reflect you. Made in your image. There’s something profound going on there. And I can’t figure it out. And I’m not even sure I want to I like it so much.