The following story was written by Carl Carlson, a past member and lay leader of Good Shepherd. Carl wrote several stories about the building of the current sanctuary, which was completed in spring of 2001, and with which he was heavily involved. The stories not only share a glimmer of Good Shepherd’s history, but also connect faith and life in real, humorous and touching ways.
The good news for the Interior Design Committee was that an unexpected contribution had been given for the upper stained glass windows in the new sanctuary. The bad news was that only two weeks remained before the scaffolding in the sanctuary would be removed, which meant that the windows had to be designed, made and installed in record time.
Marilyn proposed two design concepts: the hand of God extending towards the congregation for the left side and a descending dove representing the Holy Spirit for the right side. Once the Interior Committee approved the design concepts, the next task was to create and draw the designs on paper so they could eventually be enlarged to the actual size of the windows. The enlarged designs would be used by Else Calendrillo as templates for the stained glass designs. The descending dove design went smoothly, although the first few attempts looked more like a pigeon than a dove. The hand design was another matter.
As most artists know, hands are difficult to draw and this one would eventually be really big and prominent. Having just purchased a new digital camera, Marilyn and I decided to take close-up pictures of my right hand to provide Marilyn with a model for her sketches. After reviewing several preliminary photographs, Marilyn tactfully commented that I had a “squatty hand.” I have suffered more than a few comments about my hair style, or lack thereof, but never about “squatty hands.” We eventually discovered that the squatty hand pictures were the result of aiming the camera downward at my hand, and that if I stood on the steps of the stairway and the camera was aimed directly at my outstretched hand, I didn’t have a squatty hand after all!
Once the designs were completed and enlarged, Else worked literally day and night to craft the beautiful new windows. Jerry Calendrillo, Else’s husband, was scheduled to install the windows on a Saturday morning. As I arrived, I was surprised to see 82-year-old Jerry high up on the scaffolding just beginning to install the “hand” window on the wrong side of the sanctuary. After this “minor” correction, Jerry skillfully installed the four triangular individual panes for each window with a whole quarter of an inch to spare!
Sometimes, I admit, it is a strange feeling to look up at the completed “hand” window and remember that a picture of my hand was used to create an image of God’s gracious and comforting hand extended towards the congregation. But then, I realize that, when each one of us uses our hands to caress the brow of a sick loved one, or hug a small child, or extend a helping hand to someone in need, or create beautiful music or artwork to celebrate God’s gifts, or pass the Peace to one another, our hands become the hands of God’s Holy Spirit touching and embracing the lives of those we encounter in our journey each day.
Now you know the “inside” story. . . . . . . . . Carl Carlson