Saturday, June 09, 2007

My neighbor's labor of love

My neighbor's labor of love

March 22, issue of 7 Paths e-letter

Last summer Sarah and I stopped in at a neighbor’s farm on a Sunday afternoon. Dan was cutting granite pieces for the fireplace in the lodge he’s building. The lodge is located in a wooded area next to a pond with a fountain.

Recently I asked Dan how the lodge is coming along. He said that he has decided to sell it. “I like to build things and I realized that I don’t want the hassle of running a retreat center,” he said.

“It’s been a labor of love,” he added.

For a couple weeks that phrase--it’s been a labor of love--has surfaced periodically in my thinking like a fish leaping in a pond.

I grew up in a family where men used their hands in their labors of love. My father was a farmer and a lumberjack; my seven brothers are machinists, electricians, loggers, builders and an electronic communications specialist.

I was the odd man out in my family, the one who was never good with his hands. Then I became disabled and making a living with my hands was out of the question.

Fortunately I discovered a labor of love that fit me perfectly--working with words. I began hauling words out of the woods to carve them into stories. I began stacking words in the shape of poems.

Five months before I called a group together to found Evergreen Leaders, I launched this e-letter. Writing to each of you is a labor of love.

My neighbor knows what he loves to do. He loves to build things. He had been dreaming of building this lodge for years, he said. He could have made a mistake and thought because he built his dream lodge, he had better run it.

Someone is going to purchase and cherish my neighbor’s labor of love--someone who loves running a retreat and meeting place. People will come a great distance to enjoy the craftsmanship of my neighbor and the hospitality of the new owner.

Wisdom for the week: Make your work a labor of love; organizations thrive on craftsmanship.

Fare thee well, Rich

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