This past week was full of scheming, creating and planning. My girlfriend’s birthday was coming up (which is today actually) and I wanted to build something for her that I had never built before: a letter box.
I didn’t even know where to start.
Carpentry has never been a strong suit of mine. People who build things with their hands have always inspired me, but all I had ever been able to build properly before was bookshelves. In 8th grade I made a CD rack, and since then I’ve made 4 bookshelves for my room (every time I ran out of book space I went downstairs and built a new one). So when it came to building a letter box I was oblivious. I didn’t know what kind of wood to buy, how to put it together, what saws to use to cut it, what hinges or latch to buy, all I knew is that I wanted to be a craftsman.
There is something ideal about being a craftsman. It is so awesome to be able to say, “I built this all by myself” instead of “I bought this for you.” It is beautiful to see someone open a gift that you made with your own hands. To see them run their fingers along the corners you cut, the edges you sanded, and the pieces you assembled for them. To know that they will fill it with things that are dear to them.
As I was making it all I could imagine was her smile as she gazed upon her gift. With every miter, every cut, every slit, and every nail I could see her smile grow. It wasn’t me making a box anymore, it was me making a memory. It was me giving my heart, my sweat, my time, and my voice. Outwardly it was just a box, but inwardly it was a message about how much I cared. It was made of wood yes, but that wood became so much more when it was crafted by a craftsman, and when it was held by the one it was made for.
Its hard for me to believe, but this past week I became that craftsman, and even as I write this I see her smile continually growing.
*Below are some pictures of the box and of some of the things I gave along with it including: a thimble, a japanese tray, a flower pot, and forget-me-not seeds.