The House We’ve Built

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

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build 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 contractor came to inspect the house, he handed the front door key to the carpenter.

“This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you”.

What a shame. If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all differently.

Now he had to live with the home he had built, none too well.

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

Give every day your all—do you best. Life is a journey, not a destination, and every step, every decision, shapes us along the way.

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