Throughout my work this question lingers, a soul-hungry ghost. Who cares if I back up and do something better when no one – or very few will notice? Who cares if I sacrificially stretch myself to new skills and designs which make my furniture better? Who cares if I give myself and skills in service to my church and community? Who cares?
Lots of times no one does, but me.
No one has the same understanding of the design of the projects I do along with the structure and balance of the wood. I am by myself and subject to my own valuations. It’s not even as though all this makes my work better than that done by others. There is something insidious in me that offers room to “Who cares?”; something that seeks alien ground from which valuation for my work might come.
There is an old saw which says, “Grow where you’re planted.” There was a time (I was seven or eight) when food was very scarce for us. I would sometimes eat grass to fill my stomach. There was a mailbox on the road by our house by which I would sit to watch cars. I would see people in the cars drinking a soda pop or eating a candy bar. Oddly, this didn’t cause bitterness or envy (God knows, I’ve had enough of that in my life). It awakened two things. Right then, it brought me to an understanding that life was different for each one of us.
As time went along, it became a paradigm for the people I met. Some came by my life and ignored me or offered me a ride in their car. Others, the truly special, came and sat with me at the mailbox. These became life partners or at least people who helped me to be authentic and to see their authenticity. It is from them that I have been able to turn away from the ghostly question, “Who cares?”.
- This sense of my own value and the value of others help me to approach my work with integrity and each potential customer as a person who may or may not be helped by what I can contribute.