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Tools of the Trade

Jun 28, 1998
Kimmy Sophia Brown
My husband and I were talking about some missionaries that we know. After a few minutes, our boy, Ranin, 6, piped up and said, "What were you saying about mercenaries?" This led to a discussion about the great gulf between syllables. And that topic led to vocations.

Ranin is a very physical boy. Today he went headfirst under the kitchen sink, and popped out with a handful of tools -- screwdriver, wrench, pliers, hammer. "Mom, I want to work! I want to build something!" he said. Not really having anything for him to build, he went out into the garage to hammer in "loose nails". He was leading a brigade comprised of himself, sister Gracie, and little brother Tadin.

Moments later, the chain gang tumbled back into the house, loud accusations flying. Investigation brought out that my large styrofoam cooler that I use in the summer for various purposes, was happily stabbed to death and turned into a billion styrofoam "pills" on the garage floor. The screwdriver hadn't been used so much since I bought it. Ah well, it could've been worse.

A word of warning not to poke holes in things or hurt their fingers was proclaimed, and back they went. A little while later, Tadin toddled in, gasping with the monumental news that "Ranin broke the door!"

"What?" I said. I ran to the kitchen, to see the entry door to the garage swinging from the upper hinge, and the screws to the lower hinge laying on the floor. "I didn't do it!" Ranin pleaded.

I have to admit that I went ballistic for a few minutes, yelling things like, "We've lived here for two and a half years! I have been going in and out of that door for two and half years! The minute I let you go out there to play, the door disintegrates!" Blah blah blah blah!

The rest of the day, Ranin wandered around the house moaning, "I want to build something. I want to build something." We plan to take him to a lumber yard and buy him some wood and nails which he can pound together. He can then learn the Dance of the Throbbing Thumb that I learned when I helped my dad build things, when I was six. It's good to learn a trade, even when you're little.

Just for a little education, I asked him if he knew what important person in history was also a carpenter. He had no idea.

"Jesus!" I said.

"Jesus was a carpenter? He builded things? Wow!" Ranin exclaimed. He was thrilled out of his mind with the irony of it all. Jesus, the son of God, did for a living, the very thing that Ranin wanted to do. It was just too amazing. Who cares about being a figure skater, or a scientist, or an astronaut, when I can build things like Jesus did? He summed up his amazement with the beaten-to-death phrase of children, "Radical!"

My prayer is that whatever he or my other children decide to do with their lives, that they do it with their whole heart and their whole ability to love. I don't think carpentry was Jesus' first profession of choice, but I am sure it helped him to understand the common man. I bet it gave him big muscles too.

I have a friend who had a dream that she was visited by Jesus. He was wearing jeans and a plaid flannel shirt, and had reddish hair and a beard. He explained to her that he was killed with the tools of his trade; hammer, nails and wood. I don't know why she dreamed such a dream, but it seemed significant to me.

Maybe by following the profession of the man whose inner mission was wholly centered on love, my boy can inherit something from him. It would make me proud.

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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