He loved working in his shop. He had turned his garage into a haven. He could lose himself, repairing and fixing, restoring and creating. Since his wife died, he spent more and more time out there.
One day, he was discovered. One of the neighborhood boys found him. The boy had heard the whine of a table saw and followed the sound to investigate. The man was so involved in his project that he didn’t notice his young visitor at first. Annoyed at the intrusion into his sanctum, he turned off the saw and spoke gruffly to the boy, ”Son, you’re trespassing. What are you doing on my property?”
“I just wanted to see what all that noise was,” the boy replied. “I didn’t mean no harm. I‘ve never seen a place like this. Whatcha makin’?”
It was the beginning of a flood of questions. Before the man could answer one, the boy had ten more. “What’s this for?” “How does this work?” “Where did you get all this stuff?” “How much money did you spend on all your tools?” “Whatcha makin’?”
At first, the man was ready to lash out and tell the boy in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t invited and certainly not welcome, but something changed. His two boys were grown and gone. Neither had displayed the slightest interest in their father’s handiwork and creativity. One had told him once, “Dad, if something is broken, just buy the new, improved replacement.”
Not in his lifetime. He could fix most anything. Over the years, he had saved a lot of money tinkering, recrafting, and building. He took pride in his ability to use his hands and mind to work things out. Now, for the first time in forever, someone took an interest in what he could do.
He waited for the boy to take a breath amidst all the questions and then he said, “Hold up there a minute,” pointing to his table saw, he explained, “Let me tell you what I can do with this beauty.”
The afternoon slipped away as the two became friends – a 10 year-old boy and a 73 year-old retiree. The old man showed the boy a rocking horse he had made for a grandson he hardly ever saw. The boy told him about how he loved to work on his second-hand bike he had gotten for his birthday. The things that made them different faded away; the thing they had in common forged a friendship.
God made us unique. We can focus on our differences or we can celebrate them, learning something new, even life-changing. Just before the young boy headed home, he stuck out his hand toward his new friend, “Nice to meet you. You got neat stuff.” The old man took the proffered hand and shook it. “It’s been a long time since I made a new friend. Come back anytime, son.”