The wooden cross

When I was 5 years old, my maternal grandpa retired from his factory job.  To pass the time, he began making things with wood.  I always liked these things growing up, but now that I’m an adult and my grandpa has been in heaven for 13 years, they mean even more to me.  I have a wooden coaster he made that was on my daughter’s nightstand for the longest time.  A couple of months ago my dad brought me one of the wooden crosses that grandpa had made for me to hang up.

It sat on my counter for a while.  I’m lazy that way.  But a couple of weeks ago, I finally cleaned off the clutter on that countertop when my daughter was with her grandparents and decided it was time to hang the cross.  I wanted to hang it in my daughter’s room.  I grabbed the hammer from the garage.  I took the tiny nail off the back that my dad had taped on for me to use.  (He’s very organized that way.)  I lined it up where I wanted it and started tapping the nail into the wall.  Have I mentioned that this is something I don’t usually do?  We don’t have a lot of pictures hanging in our house, but until this cross, all of them had been hung by my husband.

With one final small tap to get the nail in place, it slid flush to the wall.  I tried the back of the hammer to pull it out a bit.  I succeeded in making a mark or two on the wall paint.  I called my husband at work.  He suggested I try a knife.  He should remember who he’s talking to.  After all, I am the same woman who recently cut her finger on a wooden popsicle stick.  No, I’m not exaggerating.  I tried a butter knife (which I also recently cut myself with), but it didn’t work.

When the kiddo came home later that day, she noticed the nail.  She thought it was a hole in the wall, which is what it looked like.  She talked about it briefly.  I told her it was nothing to worry about. Life went on.  A few days later, my handy husband pulled out a box cutter, shimmied it under the nail in no time and had the cross hung.  Lexiana noticed it immediately when she went into her room again.

This cross, made by my grandpa, hangs on my daughter's wall. It reminds me both of God's love and my grandpa, who's favorite song was "The Old Rugged Cross."

She is very into helping things feel better right now.  If she bites her tongue, she insists a drink of milk will help it feel better.  If she is pretending that her doll is sick, she tells us that a drink of her pretend juice bottle will make the doll feel better.  That is her state of mind.  So, when she came into the room and noticed the cross covering the “hole” she said, “That cross will help make the hole feel better.”  I told her that was right.

Then I started thinking about the profoundness of that statement.  For centuries, the cross has been making holes feel better.  Holes in hearts and souls.  As a contemporary Christian song says, “There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us.”  There’s something about life that gets better when we focus on the cross.  It takes our brokenness, emptiness and loneliness and it makes us feel better.  While most of the things my daughter is interested in to make herself, her toys or even her parents feel better are temporary fixes, the cross is a permanent one.  It was a phenomenal, monumental, beyond-comprehension gift given to us when God’s only Son died to save us 2,000-some years ago.  It never goes out of date or out of style.  Its fix won’t stop.  It makes the holes in all of us feel better if only we trust.

I stand in awe of the God who speaks through a toddler and uses a cross made by one of His children who He’s called home to minister to my heart and soul.  I know my grandpa could never have imagined the little curly-haired redhead great-granddaughter of his who would talk about this cross when he crafted it so many years ago.  But, God knew.  God had a plan as He always does.  And, I am blessed, humbled and thankful today.

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