“Into God’s temple of eternity | Drive a nail of gold.
—fromIn Search of a Soul by Raymond Moriyama
We are spending some time at our cottage, where renovations never cease. It gives me opportunity to re-visit one of my past posts.
I sit on the sofa and contemplate a box of nails.
“Common” nails, the box tells me. Ordinaires. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Those common nails hold together the kitchen in which I sit—the heart of our cottage home—but only because they are working together. One nail alone can only endure stress for a brief time before it snaps from the strain.
Those common nails don’t judge themselves against longer ones, or thinner ones, or younger ones. They know they are the perfect size, material, and shape for their purpose.
The nails know and accept without question that they need help from an outside source: the hand that wields the hammer. Nails on their own must wait.
Once work is underway, the hammer strikes the nail. It doesn’t feel good. It hurts! Fulfilling purpose is not a pain-free, comfortable experience.
If I am a common nail, I have a purpose for which I am the perfect size, material, and shape.
The hand that wields the hammer is with me. I’d better call up some friends.
“Day two, or whatever that middle space is for your own process, is when you’re ‘in the dark’—the door has closed behind you. You’re too far in to turn around and not close enough to the end to see the light.”
—Brené Brown in Rising Strong
Brené Brown, author of Rising Strong, leads three-day workshops that encourage people to dare greatly and accept vulnerability. On Day One, people arrive bright with curiosity and anticipation. Day One is easy.
But not Day Two. Day Two is hard. It’s the time of not knowing.
The middle space is one of doubt and discomfort. Sometimes people want to give up and flee. They want the happy ending, sure, but not if it’s painful or scary.
But you can’t skip Day Two.
“The middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens.”
Day Two is the space after death or divorce, but before life re-created in a new way. Day Two is the scorching pain of labour before the birth of a child. For some of us, Day Two is Easter Saturday.
During our times in between, when we can’t see the happy ending, we have to remember that wonderful things beyond our wildest imaginings could be around the corner.
It might be messy and difficult, full of grief, doubt, confusion or anger, but we have to go through it without knowing where it’s going.
It’s not fun, but you can’t skip it either. It’s where the magic happens.
During the Second World War, his family was sent to an internment camp in British Columbia. But his father was separated from them and sent to a POW camp in Ontario. The family was eventually reunited and when Moriyama graduated from high school, his father gave him a hand scripted copy of the quote above.
I first read this quote years ago in the email signature of one of my daughter’s teachers.
It reassured me to know that my daughter was spending some of her days with a person with that kind of mindfulness. He was wasn’t working for himself; he was working for the children. Every day he was carving his name on students’ hearts, so he’d better make it good.
Today, you will carve your name on someone’s heart. What indelible impression will you leave?