Posted by: Michelle Knoll | October 27, 2012

Thirty-One Days of Hearing His Voice {Day 27} – From Father to Son

He ran his hand along the tabletop, feeling the smooth surface once more, and smiled.

He’s just about finished with this one. 

The old man admired the work of his eldest son, for the young man had worked hard to make this table a thing of beauty.  Thinking back over the years, his chest swelled with pride.  It had been such a joy, training his son in each step of the building process: carefully picking each piece of wood; correctly measuring and cutting each part; planing, joining, and adding intricate carving around the edges; and finally polishing it all so the sun’s reflection caused the table to glow like fire. It was a long process to produce such quality handiwork. However, it had been worth it, for the ruler of their city had been so impressed he had promised to purchase another table just like this one. His son’s hard work and commitment to the task would be well rewarded.  Yes, my son has done well.

The father’s proud expression softened into sadness as he thought on those words again. “My son,” he mumbled to himself as he put away the polishing rag. Well, actually, his wife’s son. Though he loved the young man with all his heart, he was never able to get away from the fact that the boy was not truly his. Granted, he was the only father the boy had ever known, and the bond between them was very strong.  However, there was still a gap between them, though neither of them really wanted it.

Perhaps it was because there were others who just wouldn’t let them forget that they weren’t blood relation. The neighbors in the village where his wife’s family lived would always make them uncomfortable when they visited. “So,” they would ask him, “how is your oldest doing?” Or they would emphasize, “He looks so much like your wife.”  The comments stung his heart, and brought pain to his wife.  Even though the rumors started during their engagement, he had chosen to marry her despite the fact everyone his family knew had been so opposed to the idea. And though no one could ever prove that this fine young man was not his own, the air hung with suspicion.  It had made their lives hard, especially for his wife.  Even his own parents had become cruel in their comments, once they had found out her baby wasn’t his.  He tried his best to explain, but they just couldn’t seem to grasp the situation.

The father knew the villagers’ statements also stung in his son’s heart. Still, the lad always remained kind, with a grace that far exceeded what any other person could have possibly mustered under such conditions. His attitude only served to make the father even more proud of him. Dwelling on this caused the smile to return to the dad’s face.

“You’re daydreaming again.”

Hearing the familiar voice behind him quickly brought the old man back to the present. He hadn’t realized he had been standing motionless, lost in thought.  “I was just admiring your work. This is a fine piece, son, and it will bring you a pretty price.” The dad smiled at the young man standing in the doorway.

Walking from the doorway to where his father was standing, he studied the table.  “Yes, it came out nice, didn’t it?”  He placed his arm around his father’s shoulders.  “But only because you taught me so well.”  Squeezing his father with a strong one-arm hug, he grinned.  “You’re the master carpenter.”

Their eyes met as the father looked at the son, and marveled that at twenty-four, the young man was right at his father’s height. How has the time passed this quickly?  Where is my little boy?  He is so mature now.  He studied the eyes of his son, a soon-to-be master carpenter himself.  His eyes seem to belong to someone so much older, someone full of so much wisdom.

The father glanced down at the floor of the workshop and coughed to clear his throat. “Well, I haven’t taught you all the things I feel I should have.” He always felt so inadequate as a father, with all of their children, but especially with this one. Even though the father had gained much experience through the years, he still felt like such a failure.  “You have such a calm and quiet spirit, and such wisdom.  You certainly didn’t get those things from me.”

“Why do you belittle yourself? You’ve been a great father,” the son spoke reassuringly. “You’ve taught me plenty, and I’ll never forget all you’ve said. You’ll always be my hero.”

Those words melted the father’s heart, and seemed to echo throughout his whole being.  He chuckled inwardly.  Yes, son.  I’m your hero. Your unsung hero.  And you?  One day, you will be mine.

Mary had been standing at the door, watching and listening. She so admired Joseph for the way he loved Jesus. No man had ever been a better father, especially for one not of his own flesh.

“Come on, you two, the work day’s over!  Evening is upon us.  Time to wash up for supper.”

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