Musings on the three pillars of a Catholic home: Faith, Family, and Food
Monday, June 14, 2010
A confident hand, large for a boy just become man, proffered in the dry heat of a Los Angeles July on Figueroa Street. A chance meeting mapped to the moment by Providence.
"Hi, I'm Brian Hudson. I'm from Idaho."
I notice the hiking boots with Navy Surplus socks pulled up and backpack strapped across the chest, the small iron cross hanging from a leather cord around his neck. I notice farmer-tanned arms, strong with building houses down in Mexico for a summer. Fingers blistered playing guitar in the streets of Rosarito, worship hymns around the campfire. Blue eyes alight with ambition and kindness. I knew then that he was something rare, a Gentle Man.
On brains and guts, he'd come here on a bus and scholarship and on prayer. This homegrown boy from Idaho, this gentle man blooming with confidence and anticipation who was raised on his Daddy's work ethic and his Mama's grit and on the faith he took for his own at seven years old and wrapped himself in like skin and filled himself with like air.
Some might say he came on dreams, too, but I know better. He never was a dreamer. He was too cautious for that, and in a way, too strong. His brain was always wired to override his heart. Or maybe it was due to a combination of ethic and grit and an iron will that I was powerless not to admire. And, yet here he was living out his dream. Because his head had wrestled long with what was in his heart, and they came out in agreement, and his hands worked hard and his mind was sharp and the grit his Mama gave him from birth married to his Daddy's nose-to-the-grindstone, self-made determination. And because he was being Led by stronger Hands than his.
I put my hand in his that day, and I shook it, and one month later, we were dancing, giddy grown-up children learning love and life side-by-side. The long and short of three years saw those same hands challenge and conquer and mold and make, and then they offered me a promise, diamond-strong and white-gold-pure. I offered it right back in covenant. Though we were young, I had no misgivings, because this gentle man was no dreamer, and his heart cried out to mine, but his head gave the final say, and he took my hands in his and wed me.
In barely a breath, those hands led me North and danced me into motherhood, and I have seen them challenge and conquer and mold and make. And we're dancing still, if we have grown a bit.
This past week, he gave me a gift. Some people might laugh to hear a new sink called a gift, and the act of installing it with two hands, a box of tools, and the aid of YouTube videos may seem insignificant to some. But, to me it is testimony.
Of a Grandpa's work ethic
and a Grandma's grit
Of a farmer boy's hands
and a brilliant mind
and an iron will
and a love strong and pure
and a covenant
blessed by Hands
even stronger and gentler than his.