He was as proud as he was meticulous. As a fourth generation tile-setter this was not work, this was life. Deep in his DNA. He did not learn this craft, it was passed down to him like a family heirloom. As such, this project was not just the work of his hands, but the hands of those who went before him.
At the core of this craft was the fundamental understanding that this was always for those for whom he created…most of whom he would never meet. For as a tile-setter, he would rarely meet the homeowners, as the vast majority of his work was directly with the contractors. And yet, what motivated him was the actual people whose lives he hoped to improve with his creations. It is clear that this fourth generation craftsman embodied the words from a Greek proverb attributed to Nelson Henderson:
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
As we begin to transition from the season of Advent – a time filled with waiting, watching and anticipating the blessed Nativity of our Lord – may we hold fast to the hopefulness that Advent is meant to instill in us. For it is in that hope that the gift of Jesus enters the world. A hope that will embolden those who choose to follow in the Way of Jesus, generation after generation, to bring forth transformation through continuing to plant the trees of life, whose shade they do not expect to sit under.