The Mastery of Wood

If you took the bad decisions I have made in my life and laid them end to end, they would probably make a path halfway to the sun. Fortunately, larger forces than mine are at work in my own and all our lives.

For instance, I once was trying to help a woman who seemed to be an alcoholic and who needed a ride to catch a bus to visit her father who was dying of cancer. I told her I’d do that. After all, what else could I do? She lived by herself in a nasty little trailer without two nickles to rub together. The day after I was supposed to take her to the bus I awoke to the certain knowledge that I had forgotten her. I had decided to let other things get in the way. There seemed no way but to go straight to her house and apologize as well as offer to take her the next week (if she would trust me to do so). When I arrived at the trailer and knocked on the door, it was opened by a man. He turned out to be her father. She was sober and had cleaned up the place so that it was actually quite pretty. The only thought in her mind and word in her mouth was one of blessing that her prayers had been answered: she was getting to see her father. I didn’t even rate a dirty look. She seemed thankful that I was there to celebrate with her. So was I.

When I confront a piece of furniture at the design stage, I do not know what the wood, climate, market, etc. has in store for me. Often my bad choices are either canceled out or they are made part of the bigger path to a beautiful piece of furniture. Knowing this fact has released me to be the best me I can be (or can be made). This is the mastery of wood.