Friday, January 17, 2014
Morning Thanks--various contagions
Once upon a time, I wrote a story on a man who, for a living and for a lifetime, moved entire houses and other titanic things. He was, as you can imagine, fully stocked with the right gear, including flatbed 18-wheelers and other really macho-like toys; but I never went out into the yard. For the entire interview, we stayed in the office of his place in Hull, Iowa, and talked, me asking questions, him going on and on about his work, his craft, his art.
I went out to a site to watch him work sometime later, just to see how they did what they were doing. It was interesting, but, oddly enough, it's the interview I'll never forget, and what I remember--don't ask me anymore how on earth he moves whole houses, although I knew at one time--what I'll never forget about the interview is that when I drove away that night, something in me wanted to turn around, get back out of the car, walk back into his office, and fill out a job application. His love for what he was doing was as contagious as a winning smile. Spend a couple of hours with him and his enthusiasm alone lights up the night. That's what I'll never forget.
The brand new living room in our brand new house looks brand new again this morning after a few deft touches by a young woman who knows how to create deft touches and what to create deft touches from. She spent half a day or so yesterday, hanging some strange, gossamer-like white curtains on either side of our windows--of no real purpose but really cool looking (on sale at J.C. Penney's), and then loading up the spacious south wall with an whoppingly big hanging created from more than a dozen 1908 Sioux County township maps (Hobby Lobby frames, half price, unmatted too, not all that expensive).
Nice. It's great. We love it.
But what was even more fun was having her here. Don't know how to describe it exactly, but my mother would say it this way--"that young lady was tickled pink." She was. Finishing up our living room, putting up 15 big framed maps, hanging them ship-shape, was just as much fun for her as it was for us. Every once in a while, she'd step back, take a deep breath, and just gush wordlessly.
That higher education is becoming far more professional that it was is not news. That it would is understandable: college costs mega-thousands. Parents want more for their buck than an insider's understanding of John Updike or the Peloponnisian Wars. Still, what do real live stats say?--people change professions, not just locations, a half-dozen times in their working lives. Why spend all money preparing for a job you're likely not to stay in? What's a job? What you need is a calling.
What is a calling anyway? Here's a catchy answer: "where you're passion meets God's needs." That's cute, and I'll use it the next time I'm a youth pastor.
But I'd offer this answer too, from that house mover you spot in a pickup following an old frame house lumbering heavily down a country road, or an interior decorator who's just got to stop working every 15 minutes to remind herself how great what she's working on is going to look, and more important, be in her customer's new house. A calling is doing what you love.
What's left from yesterday is a brand new look in our living room. That's really nice, and I'm thankful this morning.
But this morning I'm offering deeper thanks for contagion of joy, a blessing, that people who love what they do bring to all the rest of us.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 7:04 AM