The memories of my grandfather and his work shed. There was an addition off to the side of a one car garage that was made into his work area. The small space was a place where he frequently spent his time. As a young boy, I would venture out to watch my grandpa work on little projects. A grinding wheel mounted on an old green metal workbench. Cabinets painted with many layers of choice colors; ugly pinks and greens, from a different time. Old paint brushes hanging along the back wall. The smell of gasoline, and the odors from the oily stains within the plank floor, covered with a layer of aged sawdust. The memories of his finished products. The thoughts I would have, as I watched him meticulously craft these little remnants of leftover pieces into his new creation. I would just watch, and wonder. He would occasionally hand me a hammer and show me how to use it. I vividly remember him reaching for brushes along the back wall, loading them with paint, and handing them to me. He would guide my hand with his, and teach me how to apply the paint. He would then guide it to the paint can, brush a little off under the lip, and then return my hand to the project. After a few rounds of his guidance, he would then allow me to do it alone. He would step back, and watch me learn. I can remember him calling me a “good egg” as I did these little things along side him. He would place that same guiding hand on top of my head as I stood beside him, and he would gently squeeze it and say, “You’re a good egg, aren’t ya Buster?” I remember as I grew older seeing a shoe that I had owned that said “Buster Brown” printed inside of it. I often wondered if that is where his name for me came from?
The memories of the times with the broken people of my city. We were teens, and we didn’t tell our parents the truth. We would crawl out of our windows at night and go to a secluded place to enjoy the collection of liquor, cigarettes, many things that could be inhaled, and the company of storytelling acquaintances. How the nights would turn into early mornings, as we laughed until the last moments of our rendezvous. I’d sleep until early evening, then await my escape to run out to do it all over again. I remember stealing, lying, cheating, manipulating and not liking myself. I cannot remember a lot from those days. There was always a constant blur from the self-inflicted harm, and the depression that I would run from. Home was a place that I would visit, and the life there was not peaceful. I vividly remember wishing for a new road. A new life. An early grave. The gravestones of the city kids who lost themselves, now cast shadows on my broken memories of their time with me.
My changed mind. The choice to follow that road that did not lead to a hole in the ground. The passion to leave the depression, and anger, and consequences of my poor choices at the point on this road where I decided to start walking the other way. The adult turning point that has driven me to new thoughts, new choices, and fragments of character to add to the pile of my faceted existence. I can look at some of the recollections of a time that is gone, and see them as if they happened hours ago. Other clips are short, with no color. Distant, with little detail. Just a general description of a once clear view.
Today, I observe the yesterdays. I am always mindful. The lessons, the downfalls and pressures, experiences and thoughts. These things were thrown into the violent sea of life, shuffled and broken, then placed on the banks of His peaceful shore. The ground that has collected my broken pieces and arranged them into a colorful display of contentment, is solid ground. A shore where the Lord was awaiting my arrival, far away from the rising tides of an empty heart. The fragmented life is now mindfully admired, through seeing eyes. My eyes, that see that the pieces are full of their own individual beauties. I can now accept them for what they are, and how they are arranged. I now know that the foundation that is His will always be the resting place for the pieces to come.