Jaime could see the open door of Harvey’s shop ahead. He placed his already aching shoulder and stiff, leather-gloved fingers against the end of the heavy oak tree. With all the energy he could muster, Jaime pushed; his body quivered and his muscles bulged. The tall tree gave way and slid across the soft, muddy ground.
“That’s it. Stop right there!” Harvey called.
Dropping his arms that now felt like jelly, Jaime walked up next to his boss. The color of Harvey’s face matched the red bandana he was wiping it with. “Woowee!” Harvey said. “I sure didn’t realize it was going to be that hard getting this tree out of the woods.”
“We take to sawmill now?” Jaime asked in his broken English.
Harvey handed Jaime the jug of ice water. “No. We’re cutting this one by hand.”
Jaime took a long swig of water and then gave his boss a funny look.
A sad smiled filled Harvey’s face as he glanced down at the giant log lying at his feet. “I don’t think the cross that my Savior hung on was run through a sawmill.”
“But this is for the Easter cantata, no? Don’t you want it to be pretty?” Jaime asked.
Pulling off his work gloves, Harvey answered, “No, Jaime, I don’t. Churches are filled with beautiful crosses that are sanded smooth and stained to perfection, and, most likely, that’s what the church is expecting—but that’s not what they’re going to get.” A lump swelled up in Harvey’s throat, but he continued, “When they hung my Jesus on the cross, I don’t think they went looking for the smoothest piece of lumber so that it would be the prettiest thing standing on the hill that day. They just found the strongest beams that wouldn’t buckle under the weight.” Overcome with emotion, Harvey could only choke out his last words.
For several moments both men stood there silently contemplating what this project meant personally. Then, Harvey cleared his throat and broke the quiet. “Come on, Jaime, we have a cross to construct.”
Jaime wiped his damp eyes on his shirt sleeve and followed his boss into the shop.
(c) 2007, Rhonda Clark
Rhonda Clark is a stay at home mom of two and a freelance writer. She and her family makes their home in Bartlett, TN. For more information about her writing visit: www.freewebs.com/rhondaclark or contact her through www.faithwriters.com