He asks me if it’s perfect, twenty times he asks me it’s perfect.
I laugh wonder at his work, ask if he really did all that and he nods and I say yes — it’s perfect! —- because that is what I see and outside the window — I can see them and I count — 13 golden finches, winged suns. They flit about the feeder.
He keeps tracing the grain of the wooden spoon in his hands.
“Is it really perfect, Mom? What could I do to make it really perfect?”
He’s carved it himself out of a block of wood.
I feel along its smoothness and I know that, the wanting, the longing, the yearning to do whatever it takes to make it all right.
What do I have to do here to make things perfect… better? Someone, please, just tell me how. Two finches fly, a flash of gold.
He’s standing in a square of sun holding the spoon. He’s tracing the waving bands of summers that were before he was, the underlining of years long before he knew light and bird and breath. He traces what he’s carved with his own hands. He feels his way around curves. (Isn’t that the authentic work of art — to guide around the curves when life’s not straight?) I watch him hold wood. He traces time’s lines. I reach out and run fingers down the length of the spoon. Silk. To me, it does all seem perfect.
I smile and I tell him again that it is, yes, perfect and he has done excellent work and he has stewarded a gift. And it is as it always is.
It’s up to him to believe. No one can ever make anyone believe.
He says it quietly, tracing the lip of the spoon, then looks up, searches me, eyes beseeching.
“Do you really like it?”
I don’t know why it is so hard to believe that our work is good. Why is it so hard to believe?
I lean down, cup his face in my hands so that our eyes can find each other, so that our eyes can lock. There. And then I whisper.
“Make a dozen, a hundred, a thousand. Cut down a forest and carve out a million. I’d fill up my house with your carved wooden spoons, right to the ceiling. I can’t get enough of your spoons! I never want you to stop making and creating and doing your best work and I think what you do is perfect and grand and wonderful.” He’s grinning now.
And I speak it right into his eyes: “I think you are perfect and grand and wonderful.” He shifts his eyes downward and his cheeks flush embarrassment in my palms and he scuffs his feet awkward and that is why it’s hard to believe that our work is good.
Because we don’t believe we are.
What if God does?
God wears a lens and His name is Jesus and it’s His Grace that makes Good and Right and yes, makes Perfect, and in Jesus, He really likes us, loves us, adores us and He longs to say to the child He loves, “Well done, good and faithful servant” so yes, just be faithful and just keep making, right up to the ceilinged sky. At the feeder, three finches pirouette.
“You’d really like me to carve another spoon?” His eyes dance too. I can’t stop grinning, wildly nodding my yes. I touch his spoon again, the grainy dipper, all the emptiness it holds and I can feel my hunger — like his. I feel along the spoon’s enfolding edge. I am cupped. When we create, we are nourished and we are fed.
When we create, we’re like Creating Father and this is good and we are. Made Perfect. This is what He sees. Out the window, the sun of finches blaze and feed.
And the boy holds his spoon high and announces dreams.
“I’ll make you two!”
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