28. Poetry

Dome Painting
A Man’s Word

I enjoy the rhythm of Christmas. Things in my world slow down this time of year, and I welcome the change of pace. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending some time with my friend Roy, a man nearly twenty years my senior whose spirit for living and good sense of humor make him young at heart. I mostly listened as Roy told me about this career as a mechanic and machinist. Having visited with my father earlier that same morning, Roy told me, “I’ve never met a person who had a negative thing to say about your father. He’s earned a real good reputation over the years. I think a lot of that man. My mother was that way, too. Everybody loved her.”

As we talked, Roy told me about his years in the cotton mills and in production with various industrial plants. He told me about the bosses he’d had over the years and the various trials he faced. Indirectly, Roy was telling me about his philosophy of work: the responsibilities, as he saw them, of a worker, the importance of the quality of one’s work and the sacred nature of a man’s word. Roy easily admitted his failings and shortcomings but then never apologized for holding on to his beliefs of fairness and honesty. If anything, Roy, I believe, is a man of a word. And maybe that’s what Roy was trying to answer about himself as he recounted his days in the workforce: Had he earned a good reputation over the years? What would people say about him in later years?

It’s been said that behind every good man is a strong woman. And I know that to be the case with Roy. It is my sense that over the years, his wife Linda, who I’ve known for as long as I can remember, has given him a needed sense of love, stability and safety at home. I believe that his marriage, his children, and the prayers offered up for him have been Roy’s refuge and his strength. They have been his Joyous Gard, the castle whose walls have protected the very reputation he sought to earn.

Day 28 Guide

Think about those who’ve held, protected and cared for you over the years. Think about those you love and those who’ve loved you, for it is through relationships that we earn the most important things.

© 2007, Levi Hill

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