Stacy Constantineau Meade '94 | September 5, 2019
One of my father’s gifts is the ability to turn trees into works of art. To transmute God’s work into man’s and back again.
When our boys were young and our daughter not even a dream, my father made an altar for my family. He transported it in the back of his Jeep from Michigan to our new home in Arizona, having crafted this small piece of furniture from workshop-scrap oak and ash and maple. Distinctly mission in style, it fit neatly in one corner of our dining room. The family altar with its warm, golden stain became the dwelling place for our collections of Bibles, rosaries, art-class sculptures, prayer cards, votive candles and Aunt Addie’s needlepoint linens — all the Catholic-home accoutrements. It was tidy and prim and an heirloom-in-the-making.
As our two curious boys explored their foreign desert surroundings, more items found their way from sticky fingers to cargo pockets to the family altar. The tokens they gathered echoed the child. For Keenan, 2 at the time, it was usually something tiny or orange — a baby-bird feather, a rust-colored mesquite leaf, ripe prickly pear fruit or the hat from a rare desert acorn. For Brendan, then 6, it was rocks, always — fossils, chrysocolla, malachite, tektite, pyrite, jasper. These items became more than found objects. They reflected the way each boy experienced the world around him, and therefore how he experienced God.
I told the boys that God placed special things in their paths — things other people saw as nice, but to which they were uniquely drawn, as if they were calling each boy by name. These were the items they saw as exquisitely beautiful. They were God’s gifts, reminders of how much he loved them.
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