Since I became a contractor, I also became the answer man. Actually, this first happened in my life when I entered parenthood. In our family, my impression is that I revolved in a satellite’s orbit around the center: my wife. I was only called in when the wheels began to fall off. By that point, an answer had to be found. The problem had been identified, and sometimes I was it.

As a contractor, the orbit of my satellite expanded to include all mechanical problems. Those who have worked alongside of me know that I have made mistakes, but like James Bond (whom my daughter and I call “Ol’ Puddin’ Head”) I can generally work my way out of them. In fact, I’d have to say that my greatest strength as a contractor was as a problem solver, many times solving problems of my own making.

From the vantage point of this life experience, receiving is not an easy thing. Seeing yourself as a giver, or a trader at best, getting something for nothing seems wrong, or better, dishonest. When someone, for instance, loves you only because you are you, and not for any of the silly reasons or attributes you put forward to sell yourself, it’s hard to understand or accept. That’s receiving.

Yet, receiving is the very basis of all good work, good will, and good living in general. Our lives emerge from mystery. Every morning, I thank God for the blessings I receive of which I am unaware or take for granted. This is because the central fact in my life is that I am a receiver.