The builder

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The employer was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the employer came to inspect the house and handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project." Who could say it more clearly? Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

  中文:

  一位上了年纪的木匠作好了退休的准备。他告诉老板他准备离开建筑行业,与老伴和儿孙们一起共享天伦之乐,过一种更悠闲自得的生活。虽然他因此而少了份薪水,但他想退休了。至于日子嘛,还可以凑合着过。

  眼看这位优秀的木工就要离去,老板很遗憾。他问木工可否帮忙再建一所房子。木工答应了,可明眼人一眼就看得出来,此时他做事心不在焉,做出的活儿技艺粗糙,用的料也没那么讲究了。他就这样为自己的建筑生涯划上了句号,真是令人遗憾。

  房子建好后,老板过来看新房并交给木工一把前门钥匙,说:“这房子归你了,我送给你的礼物。”

  多么让人吃惊,多么让人羞愧啊!假如他知道在为自己造房,他会做得大不一样。现在他不得不住在自己建造的那所粗制滥造的房子里了。

  我们又何尝不是如此呢?我们心浮气躁地打造生活,不是主动工作而是被动应付,能省事就省事。关键的时候也没尽心尽力。蓦然回首,才瞠目结舌地发现自己正住在自己建造的那所房子中,自食苦果。早知如此,何必当初。

  就当你自己就是那位木工吧。就当你为自己建房,每天要钉钉、铺板、砌墙。那么,你就该用心地去建。你的生活只能这样建造。哪怕你只在房子里多生活一天,这一天也应该活得优雅、有尊严。墙上的铭匾写道:“生活正如一项为自己打造的工程。”还有什么比这更清楚的呢?明日的生活之果,孕育于你今天的态度和抉择之树上。