Good morning, everyone ~
Earlier this week, my sister/I were talking about childhood brain-files. I had one pop open that involved our dad’s tool shed. I watched Dad build the shed, complete with a lean-to shelter on the side where he parked his tractor. Both areas were neatly tended, showing his pride in craftsmanship/ownership. Inside the tool shed, his tools were laid out in neat rows on a work table, hanging from the walls, and stored in large trunks. In one corner sat a device that Dad had also built for sharpening blades. He used a discarded tractor seat as the place for him to sit, bicycle pedals to operate the grinding stone, and an iron bar scavenged from another bit of cast-off machine as the turning rod that moved the stone.
Dad had constructed a water-tight wooden box below the stone. As he pedaled and the stone turned, the friction of iron-against-stone sent sparks flying. The water-bath below kept things cooled/extinguished/safe.
Inside this childhood brain-file is also the memory of going with Dad to the creek on the day he chose that particular granite stone for his invention. It was large/heavy/not round at all. Dad used his hammer/chisel to shape it round and drill the center hole. It was, needless to say, a lot of hard labor. It also took a long time from the concept in his mind to the finished product on the tool-shed floor. Dad’s satisfaction was boundless! I remember the smile on his face when he used his device for the first time and pronounced it “good enough”.
That was over 60 years ago, yet the memories cascaded from the brain-file are just as vivid today as the day they came together. Separate days/experiences; many steps/stages in between events; yet, we call it one brain-file. A memory of a whole lot of separate things. Just like Dad’s blade-sharpening device!
Just like Life on this thirteenth day of August 2021. The day stands alone on the calendar; yet, it’s a mixture of all of the All that’s gone before it. This pandemic is a file of sorts, stuffed full of bits-n-pieces of science/speculation, knowledge/exploration, certainty/uncertainty, Life/Death … and all gradations between. It’s impossible to pin-point the beginning of it (or the end of it). Just as it is impossible to pin-point the beginning of Dad’s idea to build that blade-sharpening contraption.
One important difference between Dad’s invention and this pandemic with all its mutations is the fact that Dad’s invention was not only “good enough”, but also worth the investment of all that time/energy. Whereas this pandemic seems to have taught us nothing.
Experiences ought to teach us something. Most especially, how to make our day-to-day work more effective/efficient. This global experience of the pandemic has divided us from one another, created doubt/suspicion, opened gulfs between peoples/nations/countries that leave us drained/tired/agonizing/ divided.
Before we completely lose our sense of humanity/humane treatment, let’s STOP … for just a moment … long enough to take a Slow breath in, Thank self/others for all the “good enough” brain-files that hold one another’s stories in inseparable history, Open our minds/hearts once again to all that we have/have in common, and Put ourselves back on a “good enough” path toward more effective/efficient living.
.I was just a small child when my Dad made his “good enough” device. I didn’t do any of the work that went into its creation. Yet, I was there by Dad’s side, watching, learning, absorbing certainty in my Dad’s capabilities and marveling at how his hands could create the vision his mind had birthed. And, I served as a witness to the whole thing, step-by-step. How much more satisfaction there is felt when there is at least one person standing by — supportive, observing, sharing that smile of achievement!
All “good enough” outcomes happen by first being willing to do the work necessary to turn ideas into realities. The idea of “normal life” is worthy of our mindfulness; but, we must do more than wish for the return to normal living. It won’t manifest itself, and it won’t happen instantaneously. Time and effort are needed. Willingness gets us started; STOP gets us motivated; and acceptance of “good enough” brings a sense of satisfaction that will serve us/generations after us very well indeed.
LAST WEEK’S CHALLENGE:
Who wrote: “… the divine and the demonic are dimensions of the human condition. They are not deleted by awakening but understood for what they are.“
ANSWER: Stephen Batchelor, author of “Living With the Devil”.
THIS WEEK’S NEURON-STRETCHING CHALLENGE:Who wrote: “… at some point we have to make a plan. … There’s a time for propping things up, and then there is past time.”
We may feel too tired to prop one another up for the duration. We may think that there is no one left with strength/willingness to prop us up when all seems lost/hopeless. Let that feeling be “just a feeling” — STOP and let it pass. Let that thought be “just a thought” — STOP and let another thought evolve. It’s “a plan” that seems “good enough” to get us headed in a normal direction, eh?
My dad taught me the value of “good enough” tools, without ever saying a word about them. He taught me by example; I learned by watching/observing/taking mental notes/creating happy brain-files. Are you being a “good enough” example to others of how to turn the bits-n-pieces of discarded values/morals/ethics into something of renewed value? Are you still willing to keep recycling the “good enough” stuff? There’s still time, my friends/loved ones, to prop up what we have with what we’ve learned, using the tools available to us. STOP, and let’s get started on this project! I’m with you, every step of the way!
Gentle hugs/much love,