Monday, February 4, 2013

Making Things

In what critics will soon be calling "a stunning return to form," I hope to resume using Imperfect Reflections as more than an extension of my blogs over at EO. Among other things, I'm thinking about doing a sort of "Mackenzie Uncensored" in which I can write the posts I wish I could write over at EO, but can't because "calling someone a douchebag is unprofessional," and "long, rambling intros are unnecessary" and "it really seems like you just kinda went off on a tangent here." Did I, James? Did I really?

My posts here will not be as pointed nor coherent as what goes to EO. But I'm alright with that. This is for me and whoever else wants to read what goes through my amazing head, mostly unfiltered.

I recently began working on a stained glass lampshade, using a kit that my dad bought me for my birthday/Christmas. Now, before I say anything else, I want to answer the question you're all asking yourselves right now:

Do I think that the fact that I can make stained glass makes me, in some small but meaningful way, better than someone who doesn't know how to make stained glass? Of course I do. Obviously. That's just how it is. But that's not the point.

The point is, I like making things. I've always liked making things. It 's why I used to spend hours playing with Legos, why I crafted a castle complete with lava-spewing dragon in Minecraft for no other reason than lava castle, that's why! It's why I really enjoyed painting miniatures with my friends in college (and sometimes for my friends, because they were lazy, Nathan).

I really enjoy taking a jumble of pieces and putting them together into a cohesive thing, whether it's mining stone and bucketing lava in Minecraft, building a lego spaceship complete with laser turrets mounted on turntables, or assembling stained glass. I even really enjoyed putting together my new desk and computer. I love making things.

And I inherited this love, almost entirely, from my dad.

If you've met my dad, you understand this already. If you haven't, let me break it down for you.

It'd be impossible, in this brief space, to adequately convey to you the absolutely absurd love my dad has for making things. I can't remember a time when he didn't love it, or when he wasn't good at it. From my earliest memory, my parent's house and his mother's house have been full of his creations. My parent's house contains four or five full stained-glass windows that would sell for hundreds of dollars: the result of a mere hobby. They have hanging in the house a carved, painted angel blowing a trumpet, assembled on a whim. Their front yard is dominated by a fountain assembled from rocks and an old satellite dish hand-gathered by our family. He eschews forms and pattern books, instead calling forth amazing, beautiful designs from his bald, often-hatted head. I count myself exceedingly lucky to have inherited a small portion of his amazing skill.

My dad illustrates, more than anyone else I know, the fact that being made in the image of God means being makers of things. My dad calls forth a butterfly out of shards of glass, summons an angel out of scrap-wood, and in doing so he emulates the One who crafted him out of dust. I marvel at the beautiful complexity of my dad's stained glass, and the illustrated skill of the one who crafted it, and in doing so I am reminded that the one who crafts is much more complex than his creation, and that he in turn was created by the Supreme Craftsman. And as my dad's passion and skill are evident in his stained glass, so God's passion and skill are evident in him.

So... thanks, dad. Thanks for sharing with me your love of making things. Hopefully mom can show this to you, since God apparently compensated for this incredible gift by guaranteeing you would never be able to reliably call up a particular web page.

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