Reveal IT: My Comfort Cross and Me
Just after the floods in 2011, my wife was given a COMFORT CROSS along with a number of other people in the region by Betty Taylor from the Ipswich Lutheran Parish. These were made and sent from another Parish, it was and still is a great comfort to my wife today.
Betty asked me one day if we could make some through the men’s shed. I knew we didn’t have the tools, but said I could once I replaced mine. She asked for 30 and with the help of Lloyd Wilkinson and my family members, they were delivered.
Impressed by what we had done she asked for another 500. We are slowly getting there with help from others.
Working with different timbers I look in awe, at one of our Lords creations. From one piece of timber that started as a seed to become a tree. As I mark out the crosses to be cut, I tried to make them uniform in shape and colour. Then It came to me that each is unique in its own way as to the person receiving it, and how our families are coming from the one seed, with one Mother and Father.
An example of this is the crosses made from one small section of a tree.
- Dark and deep rich and bold in colour.
- Dark with light stripes going through , showing some aging,
- The ones with knots, showing we are not all perfect.
- Then the one that looks perfect ,lovely shades of colour, with very distinct grains and stripes
- The not so perfect one, it is a bit twisted and has knots missing, but it has character and is great to hold.
- Then we come to the last one, plain and pale no style or pattern. I give her help with a coat of gloss white or the hot pink look, there she stands out bright and bold, then some I just leave as they are for some of us are like that, wanting to stay in the background and give comfort when and where needed.
Last year, I showed mine to my work colleagues to see their reaction, as they are a varied multi-cultural group. Three I remember very well:
- The first person passed it so quickly, it was like he had a piece of molten hot steel in his hands, not his cup of tea, he said.
- The next person of interest was a bit of a perfectionist, He looked it all over and passed it back, then proceeded to tell me he is an Atheist, he then asked if I would make one for him so he could give it to a friend who is a devout Christian.
- And the third an academic, said, Mark, (as he was holding it), I am a Muslim, please do not stop making them, for the key word is COMFORT and if it gives someone comfort and support then it has done its job.
Written by Mark Stanke who worships at St. John’s, Ipswich Central and makes comfort crosses to give comfort to those in need.