My Granda Black was a wood polisher by trade. He never said much, (there was no air space after Granny). But I’d sit with him for hours, watching as he loosened the tight grains: sanding and smoothing, stroking shapes from stubborn sandlewood, mahogany and teak.
You don’t hear so much about french polishers these days. It takes a long period of time: sanding and buffing; applying layers and layers of polish using very specific rubbing motions; built up in painstaking detail and with weeks of labour. Many manufacturers abandoned it around the 1930s, when quicker and cheaper techniques became available. But I’ve never seen anything so beautiful as what Granda made. A chair leg, curved, like the flash of an ankle. A bench, shimmering, like a cool lake of glass.
It takes time to build new things. Beautiful things, hewn from the roughest materials. Things that will last – through storm and heat and floods and tears.
It takes vision to see what could be, instead of what’s there.
It takes patience to keep going, when it looks like the the same ground. To wait and to build. To endure when your arms are aching and the light starts to fade.
Where I saw firewood, my Granda saw treasure. And he taught me something I’ve never forgotten: that the beauty of what’s finished, comes from the hard work of its maker.
‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ Eph 2:10