I look at a brass rubbing my grandmother made over 40 years ago. She was living in England at the time. Immortalized in a photo, she smiles at the camera. While she was still living she and I had found it buried in a box with a bunch of others. She had me tape it to the back of her largest framed piece. ( the one above)
She, wearing her knitted cap to keep her hair out of her eyes, looked and felt smart. She was fifty-something, tall and pretty. Later she would tell me this was her favorite age.
On this day she and her friend, Cecilia, take a train to a nearby village. Cecilia was a wonderful photographer, always armed with camera and film. They walk a short way to the church. She finds a monumental brass of a long dead knight, his likeness now immortalized in stone, marking his grave.
She brushes the brass clean, places the white butcher paper over the figure, and tapes the corners. She draws out a vibrant blue from her waxes and begins rubbing the paper. Over and over the surface she rubs and rubs. Blue wax transfers the etching to her paper, capturing the image.
Over forty years have passed, she would be in her 90’s now.
And I pause.
She and my grandfather etched upon their own son’s life: Some of it good, some of it not.
He and my mother have etched upon mine: Some of it good, some of it not.
I am just shy of having lived to the age she was in this photo. I am realizing that the rubbings they have left are just that, waxy residues of their dreams, hopes and failures. And I am slow to judge realizing I have left my own waxy residues upon my children’s lives.
With fresh eyes, I tape the corners securely to the Stone of my choosing. His monument the one my heart longs to copy, the impressions He left on this world by His life and teachings the most beautiful:
Mercy triumphs over judgement.
He is not willing that any should perish.
Love never fails.
Taking wax in hand, I rub with renewed strength and focus, breathing petitions of help for a work that will reflect His grace.