Thomas and Nara created a blissful life together. After their marriage, Thomas continue to work at the woodshop with his father. Because of Nara’s naturally outgoing and calm nature, she quickly and easily made friends instantly becoming an integral part of the community.
Needing something to do besides keep their small house clean and organized and prepare meals, Nara worked with a neighbor, Tapco to help train his 1-year old foal. Nara had an exceptional gift with animals; they loved her and were able to easily sense her gift and willingly complied to her commands and training. Tapco was thrilled at how quickly the foal adapted to Nara’s touch and skill. The foal quickly learned rider commands and how to help herd cattle. Tapco referred Nara’s adept skills to others and she soon gained a modest business.
Thomas’s mother, Mary, was a well-known artist and gave group painting lessons to several of the older children in their city. She invited Nara to join her, which she hesitantly did. Nara did not think of herself as an artist, but she loved her mother-in-law and determined that she would try. Although not a gifted painter, Nara did very well in her first few lessons and continued to take lessons from Mary. Thomas proudly displayed her pictures in their home.
Along with training and taking care of animals, painting, and working in their garden, Nara’s greatest love and passion was weaving. She loved to take plant fibers and spin them into long strands of thread and then put them into her loom. She also enjoyed dying her own fibers, rather than purchasing dyed fibers from the market (although sometimes she did that). She made beautiful shawls and blankets to help keep women and children warm during the cold season. She also made exquisite rugs and occasionally a fashionable tunic.
Thomas continued to compete in athletic events. Nara usually traveled with him, riding Flora and with Pipi following along. She loved to watch him race in running events and especially loved watching him use his bow and arrow in shooting events. Thomas continued to win just about every shooting event that he entered.
After being married for about 6 months, when Thomas came home from his day at the woodshop, he grasped Nara’s hand, covered her eyes, and took her outside their house. Nara playfully hit Thomas, wanting to be able to see, but smiling with a large sheepish grin, he kept his hand over her eyes. After guiding her to where he wanted her to be, he slowly took his hand from her eyes and put it in Nara’s other hand and instructed her to open her eyes. In front of her was a spectacular wooden handcrafted cradle with a beautiful bunched up blanket in it! Nara saw the cradle, gave a happy shriek, then hugged and kissed Thomas. As she then knelt down to examine the workmanship of the cradle she noticed the blanket moving and seeming to make whining noises. She gently moved the blanket to find a squirmy black, short-haired puppy! Nara squealed, then hugged and kissed Thomas again. She carefully picked up the puppy, kissing his cute little face. Thomas beamed observing the joy his beautiful bride shown with the puppy.
Pipi came over to check out the new scent. At first he was not being too sure about the squirmy puppy, but he eventually came to accept it, although he made sure that the puppy knew he was the alpha dog.
The cradle that Thomas designed and made for Nara was expertly crafted. It was made from a medium colored hardwood, sanded and polished to perfection. It was about four feet long, about two feet wide and about two feet tall. Each end had a rounded foot so that the cradle could be easily rocked. Thomas also made wooden stops to put at the rounded feet so the cradle would not rock when they did not want it to be rocked.
Thomas had carved a horse on one end of the cradle and a dog on the other end, knowing Nara’s love of her horse and dog. When Nara discovered the carvings, she squealed in delight and gave Thomas a long, passionate kiss. She loved the cradle and her new puppy.
The puppy, which they named Riporty, quickly became a part of the family and neighborhood. The neighbor children loved to come and play with him. He quickly grew into a large beautiful black dog. Even though he grew larger than Pipi, Pipi continued to remind him who was the boss. Riporty did not seem to mind. He soon learned to love to follow Nara when she rode Flora. He was a natural herding dog and enjoyed when Nara trained other horses how to herd animals. Riporty instinctively helped herd the animals and savored every moment.
The cradle was a significant gift for Nara as after being married for 6 months, she was still not with child. She felt sad and uneasy about it but Thomas tenderly reminded her that they were still young and a baby would come when the time was right. Nara weaved a beautiful baby blanket that she put in the cradle, just waiting for a baby to come and to be cuddled in it.
Time quickly flew by. Thomas and Nara stayed busy in their community. After two years of a wonderful marriage, they still did not have any children. Nara knew that Mary was especially disappointed as she had looked forward to grandchildren for years, since she was unable to have more children after Thomas. This weighed heavily on Nara as she deeply loved Mary and did not want to disappoint her. The cradle stayed in their house as they continued to faithfully hope that children would come.
Nara and Thomas consulted several times with the healer about why they had not yet conceived a baby. The healer gave them herbs that were to supposed help, but after several months of taking the herbs, they still had not conceived. Thomas gave Nara several blessings; David gave both Thomas and Nara blessings.
Thomas kept busy in the woodshop carving brilliant animal carvings and became skilled at carving people. He was given several commissions to carve people. After seeing the quality of the cradle that he made, he also had several requests for cradles. He continued to travel to participate in various shooting and other athletic competitions, however, as he received more and more work, he did not have the time to train and participate in as many competitions.
As another year went by and still no baby, Thomas began to have several doubts, about himself and God. He still deeply loved Nara, but the stress of not having a child and Thomas’s doubts took a toll on their marriage. More frequently, he would not go to the Sabbath services. He did not pray as often or study the scriptures as he once had. He became more moody and deeply depressed. Nara did her best to cheer him up, but her efforts seemed to bounce off of him.
David and Mary became concerned about their son. Of course they were disappointed that they did not yet have grandchildren, but Thomas’s spiritual and emotional health was more important to them than grandchildren.
During that year, the king of the land passed through their city to visit Thomas. He had seen carvings that Thomas had done and wanted Thomas to carve a large jaguar for him. Thomas was thrilled! The king generously paid Thomas up front, knowing the carving would take several weeks to complete.
Thomas immediately began work on the jaguar. He first sketched several angles of a jaguar on parchment, according to the probable design the king gave him. He then found the perfect piece of a hardwood, about the size that the king desired.
Even though Thomas had seen many jaguars and could sketch one, he wanted to attempt to observe one in the woods. Nara thought he was crazy because jaguars could be deadly. However, part of why he wanted to go out to the woods was because he was struggling with his faith in God. Not yet having children was very difficult for him. He did not understand why God had not blessed them with children and felt more and more angry.
On a beautiful cool day, he mounted his horse and traveled into the woods to look for a jaguar. He packed several days’ worth of food, his sleeping roll, and parchment and a brush with ink to sketch a jaguar. He carried his bow and arrow with him, along with a sword and knife, not intending to kill a jaguar but to defend himself in case of an unlikely attack.
Nara and his parents were hopeful that he would be able to find some answers to his nagging doubts. Thomas assured them that he would attempt to pray and search for answers.
(To be continued…)