Here, at the center of one man's workbench, we can see the amazing array of clutter and detritus that collects over a life time. This isn't the disarray of a lazy person unable to muster the energy to tidy up after themselves. Rather, this is the disarray of a person who is often called upon for a variety of tasks. Today, the toilet; tomorrow, the lawnmower; and yet a week from now, the chimney.
Every task requires an ensemble of tools, and for the handyman, your tools need a place to live. For some, keeping a clean and organized work space is paramount, a source of ego sustaining pride, but this work space is not that.
This work space is a glorious testament to a life well lived. I happened to know the the man who, over the years, created this workbench and he was a good and righteous soul with his mind set and his heart open--at least to those he cared about. He knew what was important in his life and he held to it throughout.
I can say that I came to admire this man and the legacy he'd worked toward all his years but I can't claim to have known this man's inner thoughts, or the minutiae of his life. What I do know is that others regarded him well and left a place in their hearts for everything he represented.
There was love...and adoration.
He was strong and caring, and he would bend over backwards for those he loved. He had simple pleasures. Above all else, he seemed to understand his place in life and accept it for what it was.
Maybe it was old age, for this is the only time I had the opportunity of knowing him.
Maybe it was the well worn wisdom that comes with having lived a long life and everything that entails.
Perhaps, with a bit of nostalgia and rose colored glasses from those around him, I never really got to know this man. Perhaps he, like myself, had an ounce or two of doubt within his soul and this had only been bridled by the toll of his years. Maybe he chomped at his bit and itched to run free.
Maybe I didn't know him, because...honestly, do we really get to know anybody?
The truth is, like this image of one man's workbench, we only get a glimpse. We can peer in at someone's life and begin to interpret what we see. Maybe we get an image of a strong, wise, old man who has lived long and well. Maybe we see the detritus and clutter of an unorganized man who was constantly under pressure to perform. Maybe both sides of the story are true and it is only up to us to decide which to focus on.
I can't yet know because I haven't lived a good long life. Not yet. I have lived, and I will live some more. Perhaps, in my day, others will look at me and say that I lived well. For today, I am taking solace in what I can, exploring the depths of my own soul, and finding a way to be comfortable with what I have while also pursuing my goals.
This is my life. What does yours say about you?