As the evening sun hangs it’s sleepy head the well worn tracks light up and draw the soul into the West. He stops at home just long enough to shower and change clothes and pull that special envelope out from inside the stereo speakers. He doesn’t really own any fancy attire. A pair of pants that aren’t ripped or faded. One of two button up shirts and the boots that he only wears on Sunday morning to Church. The socks don’t really matter as long as they’re clean. The clock on the wall says that it’s fifteen minutes after six but it’s always about three minutes slow. He checks his pockets one last time before grabbing the keys off the chest of drawers and heading out of the door in a rush. The rusted old truck grinds and sputters. Laying his head on the steering wheel in frustration he mutters “Please Lord. Not tonight” and he turns the key again. The engine has three hundred thousand miles on it, but it roars to life. He drives parallel to the tracks and heads into the city. The parking lot is crowded but he finds a spot out on the edge and pulls in. A cinder block serves as a parking break. He pauses for moment at the door and checks to make sure that he has the envelop full of cash and that he didn’t get any dirt on his clothes while “setting the brake”. As soon as he steps inside the restaurant he spots her in the corner pretending to read the menu as she waits nervously hoping that he shows up. She’s in that little black dress. She spent hours making sure that she looked her best but all he notices is that special sparkle in her perfect eyes that lets him know how she feels. The envelope holds every penny that he could save up for two weeks but it’s money well spent. Their first date is going to be perfect.
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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Heading West” and is available for purchase by contacting me on Facebook or by using the Contact Form on my website.
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(Some cropping may be necessary )
I’ve always been interested in certain trade skills. Cutting stone is one of them. To properly cut a stone one must have to be able to read the small lines that tell you where small faults are inside the stone. Stone cutting is thought to be a very masculine endeavor. The uninitiated often has visions of the stone cutter as a muscle bound brute striking mighty blows until the stone gives way. While it takes some elbow grease to wrestle a large piece of rock into place one doesn’t have to have extreme strength. Ancient technology like A-frames or block and tackle make it much easier.
But I really want to talk to you about the actual cutting process. It’s not about strength. It’s about control. A mighty blow with Thor’s hammer would be manly for sure but it’s also going to ruin the work. The key to getting that nice straight cut is patience. It often starts with abrading a line in the place you want to cut. Sometimes you need to drill and use a wedge. Then you place your chisel on the spot and tap it with the hammer. The vibration of chisel travels into the stone weakens the spot until a crack forms.
This is also how to change a difficult situation. Or deal with a difficult personality. If your goal is to destroy a relationship then hammer away like Thor and vanquish the enemy. But keep in mind that an enemy is what you will produce. But, if that goal is to shape a relationship from raw stone then the small light taps over a long time is how it’s best done.
It’s also how to set someone free. (Including ourselves sometimes)
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo
In today’s microwave world of instant gratification we’ve lost the value of accomplishment. Some of Michelangelo’s works took decades. The investment of time and imparting of life energy is what gives value to an angel shaped hunk of rock. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that don’t be surprised if instant success leaves us with a hollow victory. Accomplishment is born from the struggle. The harder the struggle is then the more satisfying the accomplishment will be. Even Michelangelo struggled. I don’t have a source but I remember one of art teachers talking about Michelangelo’s unfinished works and that how some of were abandoned because a fault formed in the wrong spot. The lesson I learned was that to become a master is to have failures and move forward anyway. If we want success then we walk away from the ruined piece with our tools and our experience and we get to work on a new piece by making those small taps in just the right place. And, we do it again and again until the angel is free.
A few days ago I wrote about The Unknown Destiny. I indicated that God has a plan for our lives. But that doesn’t mean that I’m a fatalist. I do believe that God gave us the gift and the right of free will. (Which he will not violate but that’s a topic for another day. ) As beings of free will we have a great potential. . . to make mistakes. Now, there’s an endless list of errors and pitfalls that we can examine. They can all be broken down into two groups.
1. Mistakes made due to bad information or a lack of knowledge.
2. Mistakes made due to a failure to accept good information or gaining knowledge.
On my day job I often joke that erroneous was the ancient god of blunders and that any mistake on my paperwork was due to his mischief. But ultimately we all must take responsibility for our own actions.
So if mistakes can be lumped into two main categories then what about resolutions?
I say there’s two types resolutions as well.
1. Immediate & 2. Delayed.
The advantage of the immediate resolution should be obvious. The sooner an error is uncovered the less energy it takes to correct the problem.
The results of the delayed resolution then would mean expending more time and energy to bring things back into balance. But, there’s a compound problem with the delayed resolution. Human nature is , well…lazy. Because of our limited energy we tend to not want to accept a mistake that takes great effort to resolve. We ignore the problem. We misplace blame. We will do anything it takes to avoid expending the energy it takes to break down the error and start over. The whole time these errors gain more energy and momentum and become harder to resolve.
What does that have to with my photo above? Let’s take a second look at it.
It looks as though the road leads to the mountain and the sunbeam in the background. That’s because I created the illusion that it does with forced perspectives. In reality, the road curves off to the right and makes a circle back to place where I am standing with my camera. If we assumed we could follow the road and reach the mountain we would make a bad choice based on a lack of knowledge. But, if we follow the road and refused to accept truth when we reach the curve we would go around in circles until we give up on our goal or collapse from exhaustion. The sooner we accept the need for a course correction the easier it is to get to our goal.