I’m doing a little shameless self-promotion today. I wrote this book a year ago after my best friend died of breast cancer. When I was speaking at a book signing not long after I wrote it, I said, “I wrote this book right after my best friend died and I published a play right after my sister died. I don’t know why. I guess in grief my guard was down, I’m wide open and figure that no amount of criticism can hurt anymore than how I hurt right now so why not put my heart out there?”
I sort of forgot about the book until my niece posted on facebook that she read it last year for Easter and loved it and is reading it again. That made me happy and I’d like to share more love with people.
So, I’m going to post a chapter from my book here for you, my dear readers/friends. If you like it and would like to read more, go to my page that says “Buy My Book” and buy it. It’s a short, easy read.
When God Got His Hands Dirty
“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden toward the east in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.” Genesis 2:7 NAS
Have you ever noticed that everything that was created was spoken into existence except for man and the garden? His omnipotent, creative, life-giving Word created it all: sun, moon, stars, galaxies, land, seas, beasts, birds, plants. He spoke and the atoms, molecules, elements and energy all fell in line. That was how He did it. Except when it came to man, why?
I think I know why. My father-in-law is a craftsman. He works with wood. He makes chairs and spoons and bowls among other things. I like to watch his hands when he works. He touches the wood like he’s communicating with it. He feels the grain. He feels the hardness or softness of the wood. As he’s working with it, he’s constantly feeling to determine if it’s becoming what he envisions. Touching is necessary and significant. That’s why a handcrafted item is more valuable that a machine-made item. It’s more personal. The maker envisions it, handles it, and is right there through the process of creation to final product.
After I gave birth to my children I wanted to touch them. I smelled them. I listened to them. I had to feel them in my arms. I had to have my hands on them as much as possible. It gave me joy. I traced my daughter’s face with my finger. I caressed my son’s beautiful hands and soft ears. Even as adults I just can help touching them, hugging them, walking arm in arm with them where ever we go.
God is a craftsman and a father. The word “formed” in Hebrew describes a potter molding a vessel. God could have spoken man into existence like He did everything else. But man, this creation, needed special attention. God, like a craftsman, had a vision and nothing would do but that He gathered the dust in His own hands and did it Himself. Like a CEO rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands into the work he usually delegates, God became intimately involved in the creation of man. Dust is on the ground. Dust is dirty. God knelt down and got His hands dirty to make man. And then He breathed His own life into the man. The breath of God, imagine that.
After God made man I’m sure He couldn’t keep His hands off of him. God is a father after all. God probably brushed man’s hair out of his eyes and wiped dirt off his cheek. I’m sure there was hugging and laughing and slapping each other on the back. Then after he made the man, like a true Father, God modeled for man what He wanted him to do. God planted a garden. Again, God got His hands dirty. He dug holes and took the plants and seeds and put them in the ground. He taught the man how to do it because that’s what man was going to do: tend the garden. Isn’t that wonderful? The first job that God gave man to do was tend a garden. Tend the garden that God planted. His job wasn’t to start businesses, build cities, conquer lands or wage wars. (I know there were no other people at the time, just roll with me.) He simply had to take care of what God had made. And it was in this garden where God and man would walk and talk in the cool of the evening. That lovely place they shared. God and man, Father and child, Creator and creation.
Then man broke God’s heart. They were separated. No more walks. No more talks. No more hugs and slaps on the back. No more digging in the dirt together. Adam wept. God wept.
(by Jill Libramento copyright 2016)