Just a man, ordinary and normal, your typical run of the mill. A cap in his hands and his feet dressed in boots, three days of scruff on his face. A small workshop, neat and pretty empty looking, with a jug of water and some stale crackers in the corner. The smell of sawdust and freshly shaved wood is unmistakeable. He works, this man, sometimes dawn to the dark hours of the night. Carving, chiseling, always sanding. He takes the plain and makes it beautiful, the simple he turns to intricate. Tables, rocking chairs, dressers with clawed feet, there is nothing those rough hands hands can’t make raw. Maybe it’s no wonder that this man’s deepest sleeps happen here some days in the afternoon, when the sun turns golden and its rays make the room’s sawdust float. He lays, flat on that floor, boots still on and cap in hand, spare wood as a pillow, and he takes that thick, still, undisturbed nap that wipes out all thoughts of the living for its duration. It makes sense, these sleeps, here. This is where he is most at peace. This is his every day restoration, his enactment of redemption.
The garden is doing well this year, she notices as they plod. With a full grown woman and an eighth grown up child, there’s really no other way to move, but by plodding. She’s been admiring this little plot of land for weeks. Carrots, turning ripe and orange underneath, their leafy greens more confident on the surface. Sunflowers, now as tall as her shoulder, Jack’s bean stock to her little one. They’ve been working, hands in the earth, getting acquainted and learning it, and then caring for it. The land, it seems, gives back in return, as if in thanks for being treated so thoughtfully. The child is mesmerized by a flittering butterfly. She reaches out her little hands and to catch it on a flower, and then squeals in delight as it up and flies way. The woman smiles at this abundance of life, in the ground and in her kin, and she continues to reap both harvests. This, she thinks as she roots up those carrots, this is her work of redemption, of bringing forth life.
She puts on her gloves, the white latex stretching across her fingers. A quick look in the mirror, an adjustment of the hair net, making sure all her tools are out on the sterile table and in order. She holds this moment of stillness close to her, for about to burst through that door is a life wavering on the brink. They will rush that soul in and he’ll lay exposed on the table, and every second will gain the weight of a lifetime. They will stitch and repair, sew up and heal, do the messy work of making whole. She is nervous, yes, but also excited. She is at peace here; in this ward she belongs. The folding doors burst open and she begins to work, to restore the wounded body. This, this is her part in redemption.
If Christ came and Christ went, and if he’s coming again but the world’s still spinning, then I just can’t shake the thought that it’s spinning because it matters. That Christ is coming to restore the world, but maybe we’re here to take part in that- to sleep deeply and work joyfully because we are at peace, taking part in our work of redemption.