Recently I’ve been making a batch of artists’ easels. Ten of these will end up in a new studio which is being established here in Bradenton and the rest will be sold (hopefully!) by a local artists’ supply store. As I was working on them last Saturday, I was pondering their future. Some will be used, used hard, and eventually tossed into the garbage when their usefulness is gone. Some will be used initially with great enthusiasm, and then stored in a closet when the owner’s interests move elsewhere. Some may be used for a very long time and be a delight to their owners.
But it is possible that one, perhaps, will be used to hold a canvas on which an artist completely unknown to me may paint a great and celebrated work of art. And if it were to be, which easel would it be?
To imagine such a use for one of the easels is exciting, but that does not change the way I make any one of them. All of them are being made with the same attention and care.
As mentioned in a previous post, David McCullough writes in a shed with no computer, using only the same vintage Remington typewriter that he has used since the early 1960s. (That led Barb to wonder where one buys typewriter ribbon these days, but that is for someone else to figure out.) This means that one day long ago, there was a worker in a Remington factory making typewriters, each carefully assembled with pride (hopefully). Unknown to him, on one day, he assembled a typewriter which has been used to produce two Pulitzer prize winning works of history. Pretty cool. But the man who made the typewriter will never know that.
Pastors preach sermons, mothers nurse wounds, fathers give instruction, teachers motivate to excellence, and those who care do so with passion and heart and energy and concern. They are careful with and concerned for each person, child, or student which crosses their path. But maybe, somehow, unbeknownst to them, in time, on one of these children, students, or congregants, God will impress a work of greatness in which those who invested in that life will have a stake, but possibly no knowledge.
Perhaps it is convoluted logic, but I want to look upon the people we touch with that same wonder and fascination with which I look upon my easels. I may not know ever to what use God may put them, but the potential is always that he will do something great. With my easels, yes. But with my children, too. And with those to whom I preach.
And the fact that I will not see that should not change the love and concern with which my hands seek to mold and shape the tool while it is under my care. Or yours.