Saturday, January 21, 2012
An old man approaches a brick wall being built by three laborers.
These three workers are toiling in the hot sun in the middle of a summer day. The first is shoveling and making a clearing for the wall. He is asked the question “What are you doing?” to which he responds: “I am working like a dog in the middle of the day. What does it look like I am doing?”
The second laborer is pouring and mixing the cement that will hold the brinks in place and the man asks him the question “What are you doing?” to which he responds:“I am doing my job and am working as fast as I can so I can get out of this hot sun.”
The third laborer is putting the bricks carefully in place, deliberately and one at a time. When the question is posed to him, “What are you doing?” he pauses for just a moment before he responds, he smiles and says: “I am building a masterpiece.”
All three men are hard at work but only the third laborer sees the joy in a job well done. He has a vision of the finished product of their combined effort and it makes him happy. So much of how we approach our lives depends on a bigger picture. If we are fortunate, we will see and feel sense of accomplishment in a finished product. If we dwell too much on hardship we can miss the most important sources of joy. The third guy knew that when that wall was complete, he would be able to look at it with a great sense of pride and know that he was a principle builder of that wall. The other two guys do not share in the joy because they cannot recognize the value they are creating as the brick wall reaches its completion.
Isn’t it just a better way to look at things? Why not try to look at hardship and sacrifice as an investment in a bigger goal? Maybe, you will then be able to see the beauty in what otherwise might seem like just work. Keep your eye on the grander vision. Be a part of your own masterpiece and realize that sense of accomplishment.
- Optimist contributor Wes Morgan: originally posted May 10, 2011