For hours in the hot sun. Cut out stone. Drag them away. Chisel. Chisel. Chisel. Create the shape. I catch myself staring in to the bright sun. Tired. Sweaty. Hot. Something drags my attention back to my work. And again I cut. Chisel. Chisel. Chisel.
Each stone needs to be exactly it’s own shape. Ready to fit in to the next.
Stone fitted to stone. Upon stone. To build a church. So we can worship together. Our community. It adds a new tempo to my work. Thinking of the completion. Still so far away.
The designs are made.
The hill is being worked on to prepare.
I lay my tools down atop the stone at my knee. I reach for the jug to drink the water from the spring. Pulling the scrap of cloth out of the mouth of the jar. I drink it. And it is good. Cool against the dusty day, they dusty work, my dusty throat.
I look at the stones already completed. Each of us leaving a different mark. A mark that will be left upon the walls of the church. The church that will house our weddings. Our baptisms. Our funerals. Our celebrations. Our prayers. Our mournings. I see clearly in my mind the life this church will add to our world. I am eager for the life of this church.
We have come from so far away. And here we have chance. We have a new place in a new world. We brought with us our birth right to control this stone. I pick up my tools to control this stone a little more.
I glance around and wonder why no one else works today. I look again at the stone. I can pick out the man who chiseled each stone, by the mark he left. The way he chiseled. I know which stone belongs to which man’s efforts.
I stare at the stones. And stare some more. I see in my mind the completed work. The double stone wall. The marks of each man. Known today. By us. I see the church standing in ten years. Twenty. Forty. One hundred? Will it stand for my children’s children. And theirs?
I look at the stone at my knee. Each wall will have perfectly chiseled stone. Two blocks thick. The outside stone will only show the world it’s face. The inside stone will only show the church inside it’s outer face. Two stones pressed together. Their insides not to see the sun again. Quickly I begin to chisel. I work the stone. I create the face to show the world. And on the side to see no sun – I work. When I finish for the day I move the stone to it’s place. Where it will be lined up exactly where it needs to go. It’s partner stone completed. Each stone knows where it will go. I place the stone down. No one needs to know. I will leave my chiseled marks for the world to see. I will leave my mark where no one will see. But my name will watch over those who may not know me, but I know their existence is coming.
I make sure to be there when the walls go up and my secret is there. For me. And mine. Even though they will never know.
The church goes up.
Solid and strong.
The church holds prayer. Celebration. And mourning.
The church holds service for the men who chiseled the stone to build the church to house the people who pray for the departed. For generations.
The church comes down.
It takes more generations than the builders thought. But not as long as their imaginations hoped. And there. On the fallen stone. On the walls that slowly descend back to earth. Is the mark of the men. The men who chiseled in to shape the story of the building of the church. The efforts obvious. The work displayed. The marks to read. Sadly the language to read them is known no longer.
The walls take their time coming down. Not wanting to defy the work and effort and need of those who put them up. But down, down, down they tumble.
If you stand close to get the scent of the people’s past. The effort. The feel of the work. The feel of the worship. You can.
And if you go to the right spot. And look closely. At the stone now laid bare to the sun again. You see the secret. Of the man. Who wanted to go forward to the future. With his name. With his church. With his family.
I catch myself staring in to the sun. In to the rocks. Knowing the story exists. Whether I captured it perfectly or not. I want to know it. Imagine it. Something drags me back. As I look at the chiseled. Chiseled. Chiseled story.