A few days ago, I had the wonderful experience of learning how to turn a small block of wood into a beautiful pen by using a wooden lathe.
In a word, it was awesome!
I’ve never made something like this before and I had a blast! It also made me think of the symbolism of the master carpenter. I hope you don’t mind if I share my rambling thoughts with you 🙂
Making a Pen
In order to make a proper pen, there are several steps involved. First, you need the proper materials, tools, and environment in which to work. All of your tools must be sharpened, wood properly measured, and location appropriately placed.
Next, the wood is cut, drilled, and glued in order to fit the proper equipment inside. From there, you place the piece on the lathe, turn on the machine, and gently use your cutting tools to round out the rough edges. It takes a soft but firm hand in order to smooth out all of the corners. If you jab too hard the wood can catch and potentially force your chisel to slap back at you. Too soft and you won’t be able to carve away the pieces that aren’t needed. Also, you must keep your chisels straight, or else you can gouge and ruin your work.
This whole process goes from a blank piece of wood into a beautiful piece of equipment.
Shaping my own piece revealed to me the time and care a master carpenter must put into their work. Once they have their craft mastered, they can create amazing works of art in a short amount of time that will stun potential customers. It’s crazy to think that a little piece of wood can be carved into something so unique and useful.
And that reminds me of life.
Each of us starts off as a blank slate.
We have our own personalities, features, and characteristics that make us who we are (just as wood has different textures, hardness, grains, and colors). Throughout life we go through challenges that slowly shape us into the people we become. Oftentimes life is fun like being polished, but other times, challenges are like blades that chip away at our character and teach us powerful lessons.
In the end, the hope is that we’ll become the incredible beings we were always meant to be. It’s not easy. And it’s not always fun, but with a gentle and firm hand the creator shapes us into powerful influences. Whether for good or ill per our choice, he is always shaping us.
It’s easy to forget that. I know I do. But no matter how long we’ve lived and what we’ve experienced, the master carpenter always has his hand on us.