Friday, November 7, 2014

your best work

So far as I remember it, I'd been asked to collect rocks. With my blue Rubbermaid bin, I set off into the forest. Not knowing what kind of rocks I was to look for, I picked up everything odd: a purple misshapen one, a few small ones, maybe a green. I collected about twenty, as memory serves me. Mostly though, I took pictures. I lay on the mossy ground underneath dewy leaves and took pictures, ignoring the task at hand. When it came time to bring my work forward I got in line behind the others.

The man in front of me was dedicated. He looked to me like a mechanic might: blue coveralls dirtied with strain & effort. He had obviously put in his time. His Rubbermaid bin was filled up in the shape of risen bread, with tiny stones; each as uniform and as white as the ones around it. Perfection. The overseer saw his bin and said to him:

"This is exactly what I'm looking for, but this is all you've brought me, over and over. This is not your best work. Now go, and find me something else."

She sent him away, disheartened though he was at having missed the mark.

My turn next. I looked at my measly collection of stones. Surely, she would be disappointed in me, too. What had I done? I had taken pictures and meandered slowly; hesitant dedication, at best. She looked in, surveyed my work, and began to tell me what she was building. I was taken to her vision on a riverbend in the mountains; the houses and shorelines of what was to come. I knew then that she wasn't looking for me to fill a quota, at all. Rather, she was looking for me to bring her what she needed, to move beyond the scope of what was already there. She was looking for someone to join her in the work of dreaming big.

It was only a dream, but it makes me wonder: am I simply filling the quotas set out for me by my life? Or am I building into visions, futures, greater realities? Am I doing only what's required, or am I doing my best work?

PHOTO CREDIT: totororo on flickr, sea to sky highway, whistler.

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