2013-04-07 - Tiny Tin
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous--how well I know it. Psalm 139:14 (NLT)
My Dad has always been a resourceful, creative guy. He can fix things, build things, restore things, construct things. Wood, metal, mechanical, whatever. He's always got some kind of inventive project going, and he's "handy" with household repairs, too. He doesn't mind a challenge. He puts his brain, skills, and tools to good use, and will keep at something until he figures out how to get it to work the way its supposed to.
I've always respected Dad's talents. I've taken them for granted plenty of times too, I'm sure. He's recently taken his skills to a whole new level, though. None of us saw this one coming. We couldn't have guessed it in a million years and this is a perfect example of why truth really can be stranger than fiction. Most recently, Dad has started constructing tin people out of cans. You know, like our favorite metal friend from The Wizard of Oz. He and my Grandma saw one at an antique store, a few months ago. Grandma wanted it, but it wasn't for sale. After inspecting it, Dad decided he could probably make her one - and he did!
I don't want to give away his "secret formula" for construction. Suffice it to say, he used cans of various sizes (soup, coffee, sardines, green beans, etc), silver paint, some kind of little pins and rods to hold things together, and a few other small pieces to make the hat, face, and "accessories." From what I've heard, his final product was much better quality than the original one that gave him the idea, too. It took a little trial and error, and a lot of time out in his shop, but he had it finished in time to give it to Grandma for Christmas. Dad named his creation Tiny tin, and typed up a letter of introduction and a birth certificate to go along with him.
We saved him for last when opening gifts, because it was the most unique present anyone would be getting. We all wanted to see Grandma's surprise when she unwrapped her new tin friend. She had no idea Dad had been working on him. Her surprise and pleasure were more than obvious. Our friend Tiny Tin is now displayed in a place of honor in Grandma's home, where anyone who comes by (and there are a lot of people in and out of her house, all the time) can meet and admire him.
Dad just made another tin person for my Mom. This one is a nurse like she is, and has steel wool hair and other touches, to indicate its feminine and that it's a nurse. I'm not sure what kind he'll do next. People have started requesting them, asking if they can place orders for special tin people for themselves or loved ones. Dad doesn't agree to do very many, though making tin people could fill all his time, now that he's retired. He could make extra money that way, too, but Dad says he wants to make them because he enjoys it, not for money or even because someone really REALLY just has to have one. He wants to make them for people he knows, so that each one can be personal. He wants to be able to take whatever time he needs to create each one, to be able to focus on and enjoy the process of assembling each one, and to give each one undivided attention. He says challenges will come up each time and that, sometimes, it takes a while to get them right. He talks about the process kind of like an artist talks about a painting. It can't be forced or rushed, and the artist puts a lot of himself into his work. It's a very personal investment.
Dad makes sure each tin person he puts together has a heart inside, and a birth certificate. No two will ever be alike. They're custom-made by hand, one piece at a time. That's what makes them so special. I don't know how the process goes, but Dad knows each of his tin people. He knows what is involved in making each one, from idea to finished product, the types of cans he used, and how it is put together. There may be a basic prototype, but each one has unique touches, too.
Dad knows, from the beginning, what each tin person is ultimately going to become. The creator is the one who knows the creation best, because he's the one who put the time and effort into making it. No one else will understand it that well. No one else will have the unique perspective and insight Dad has into each tin person.
And so it is with God. He is our Creator. He knows each of us even better than Dad knows his tin people. He personally designed and formed us. He took parts that seemed so random and made something unique out of them. He put us together. He breathed life into us and gave us hearts, minds, and souls. He also gave each of us undivided attention when putting us together, and took joy in the process. He still delights in us. He knew what we would become. Each of us are different and "handcrafted." No assembly line or mass production. We are each brought into being on purpose. We are each created with a plan in mind. We are known intimately, and loved and cared for as only the Creator can care for His creation.
As impressed as I am with Tiny Tin, and as cool as I think he is, I'm thankful that the story of his coming into being reminds me of the time, attention to detail, and tenderness God put into my creation. It makes me feel so special and cared about. I hope it does the same for you.