Hands On

By Michael Temple

Photo by Dreamstime

He’s been known to spend hours on a project…working, shaping, refining. More than once he’s spent an entire afternoon in the woods of our property, clearing wide paths of trees, brush, and leaves to create a trail for riding his motorcycle. He stays on task in ways that sometimes make me envious, and his love for a job well done makes me smile. Whether he’s toiling in the shop or working in the woods, he seems more in his element when he’s doing something of a more physical nature.
My son loves to work with his hands. He seems to thrive on the inner challenge of taking various materials and putting them together to build something functional or beautiful. More than once I’ve heard a variety of shop “sounds” coming from inside our garage at odd hours of the night. When I’ve checked to see what he was doing, my heart almost always swells with paternal pride. Watching my boy bending over a bench grinder or using a wrench on one of his latest creations brings to mind that Michael comes from a long line of hands-on people.
As far back as I can remember, my own father enjoyed the raw honesty of getting his hands dirty. Dad’s vocational education began in his early years, and I have spoken with a number of people who recalled watching him drive a team of horses at the tender age of seven while he and his own father delivered wagon-loads of milk cans to the local creamery. During the depression this was the norm for many children, and the work ethic that my father learned in early childhood never left him. I recall holding his large, rough hands while standing at his hospice bedside and marveling at the grip that he still possessed at the ripe old age of 86. 
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7, NKJV).
“Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel" (Jeremiah 18:3, NKJV).

I’m thankful for the hands-on legacy that my father left to my son, but I’m even more grateful for a hands-on Heavenly Father who set the example about the joy we can receive when getting our hands dirty.