Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: FINISH (05/26/16)
By Keith Henry III
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“I don’t know bud,” he answered as he gently stroked the pieces of his father’s antique carving set and struggled with his own memories of the wood shop, “You handle moving all his pieces to that corner of the shop and I will deal with all the tools.” He shot him a quick loving smile understanding that sifting through the years of memories was just as, if not more difficult for his son.
Joshua had the easy job; most of the wooden pieces were already neatly stored on the shelves in the corner. “Pa” would load his pieces into his truck each weekend and try to sell his artwork at the local flea market. The other pieces he found scattered around the shop, mainly carved animals and angels, he carefully moved and respectfully placed on the shelves. His grandfather carved the wooden animal figures, dogs, deer, horses, and birds out of different varieties of wood because that is what people bought, but his passion was carving angel figurines. “I just hold the block of wood and pray that God will reveal what is inside.” Joshua heard “Pa’s” voice as he held an unfinished angel in his hands and wondered what God had revealed to his grandfather. Joshua remembered that he always had trouble seeing what his grandfather saw.
“Dad,” Joshua shouted across the room as he stood in front of a five-and-a-half-foot tall piece that was covered with a white sheet. “What do we do with Gabriel?” He tugged on the sheet to reveal an intricately carved angel.
The two stood somberly before “Gabriel” as tears began to form in their eyes. “Tell me the story about Gabriel Dad.” Joshua pleaded.
“You already know the story,” his father replied knowing that his father had told his son the story, “besides we have a lot of work to do.”
“C’mon dad, please!” Joshua wiped the tears from his eyes and smiled up at his father.
“Ok,” his father sat down, “One day, when your grandfather was fifteen he and his father were hunting in the woods behind the house when he tripped over a rock; he reached out his hand to catch himself on this huge, fallen maple tree when he saw the image of Archangel Gabriel in the wood. The next day your grandfather drove the tractor into the woods and cut up the large maple tree, dragging each piece back to the house. The day after that,” Joshua’s father got up and began to shuffle through the assortment of tools on the workbench, “your grandfather knelt before one of the pieces of maple with this tool in his hands and prayed for God to show him Gabriel again and here he is, Gabriel.”
“Yea, but he didn’t finish him up right away.” Joshua coached his father to continue telling the story.
“Joshua we have work to do.” His father began to walk back to his task.
“Please dad, finish the story.”
“Ok. Your grandfather worked tirelessly on Gabriel for a whole week; cutting, chipping, and carving away at the piece of maple until he was satisfied with his work.” Joshua’s father reached out to touch the wooden statue. “When he touched Gabriel your grandfather says he heard a voice speak to him, “You are not finished with him just like I am not finished with you.” Every morning before your grandfather started his day he would come out to the wood shop and spend time carving Gabriel as a reminder to allow God to chip away at him that day and that God was not finished with him yet.”
His father began to weep uncontrollably as he stroked the detailed lines carved into the old piece of maple. Joshua rose and joined his father; putting his arm around his dad and placing his other hand on his father’s hand. “God must have finally finished with Pa,” he said as he began to cry.
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