We attended our granddaughters 8th grade graduation ceremony last week. They had the usual cast of speakers-board members, public officials, a few teachers, and a some students. As is often the case, most of the speakers (expect for the students of course) were long-winded. Since it was a warm afternoon in the sunshine and on hard benches, it was hard for most of us to really enjoy that aspect of the day. One person, however, shared a story that although I had heard it before, thought was a great story and very relevant to the students. I decided to share it again as I felt it was worth a reminder for people of all ages.
An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his contractor employer of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the pay cheque, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.
When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”
What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.
As we build our lives or as we build upon the lives we have already built, we are reminded that each act we take, each brick that we lay in our own lives is relevant.
Only we have the choice to build a mighty house or to build a life of shoddy substance.
photo courtesy of