My Contribution

I have written that ‘Everyday, put your hands on the wood’ is my motto. Like any good motto it stays alive in my mind and heart growing, ripening.

What began as an almost stubborn assertion that the bankers didn’t own everything and that bad economic times were not all of life has become a rudder to guide me into the wonder of my craft. It has put me squarely in the presence of wood and helped me to scratch at the surface of its mystery. It has also helped me to see myself and my life in perspective.

I mentioned in one of my blogs that delayed gratification is important to me. That sounds at first blush vaguely masochistic to most of us. Consider the meaning of the words in their life setting. Every day I go to a shop. Woodworking, the way I do it, alone and in a private shop, sounds peaceful and earthy to some people – kind of like Geppetto in the Pinocchio story. There is not time clock telling you when to start, nor is there a process which rolls along forcing you to keep up. What there is, though, is work.

An old man told me once, ‘They call it work because it ain’t fun.’ There is that moment when a project begins to emerge into the light of day, and its beauty begins to impose itself. Still, a lot of the time it’s endlessly cutting or sanding or shaping. You find out that the process in which beauty is found can be quite boring and tiring with many temptations to take short-cuts.

What drives me through it ultimately – beyond stubbornness, that is – is the sense that I’m contributing and there’s value. That’s the real meaning of delayed gratification. It’s the context of contribution where I add my part to the larger whole and step back. What will it become? What addition will this table bring into someone’s life? What new challenge now lies open to me because I met this one? It is my part of my life.

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