Laying Bricks, or Building a Cathedral

This morning, I woke to the calming sound of rain. Cold, fresh air filled my room as the day began.

A cold, rainy morning is something that will always make me happy. Perhaps the joy I derive from listening to the rain represents something greater.

The falling water nourishes my soul; my mind is in the present, considering these words.

The presence harmonizes my inner being with the natural world, as it appreciates the transition from darkness and rain to blue skies and the melody of chirping birds.

And maybe this, the attempt to paint this moment fully, represents how simple, how beautiful, how meaningful life can be.

This is me, captured in the sound of rain. This is whom I am, whom I’ve always been, whom I will become.

In her renowned book The Defining Decade, psychologist Meg Jay writes:

When we think about child development, we have probably all heard that the first five years are a critical period. What we hear less about is that there’s such a thing as adult development, and our twenties are that critical period of adulthood. They are a time when ordinary day-to-day life has an inordinate impact on who we will become.

I’m twenty-six, and like the audience which Jay speaks to in her book, I’m on a journey to find myself.

To become myself, through exposure to the world, through trial and error, through work and introspection.

In this period, it doesn’t matter as much what we’re doing, as long as we’re doing something we can learn from. What matters more is how we do it.

And that applies to much more than just our jobs and careers.

When I listen to the rain, my heart smiles; I confront the keyboard and the depths of myself to put together (somewhat) new ideas daily.

This action gives my life meaning, for every time I write a story, I’m laying another brick as the foundation for the person I’ll become.

The importance of treating everyday life as meaningful doesn’t wane after our twenties.

Every time we smile at a stranger, we become a better human. Every time we try to help — by doing a favor at work or lending a friend a hand — we make the world a better place.

Every time we close our eyes and listen to the rain, we make the universe happy.

It doesn’t matter what it is, it’s how you do it which will give your life meaning. How we do what we do is more important than we can possibly understand.

There’s a well-known parable about three bricklayers who are approached by a traveler.

He asks the first man, what are you doing? He replies, isn’t it obvious? I’m laying bricks so I can provide food for my family.

He asks the second man the same question, to which he replies, I’m a bricklayer — I’m building a wall.

The third man is working the hardest, and when he’s asked the question he replies, I’m a cathedral builder, creating the greatest cathedral the world has ever seen.

The work, the seemingly simple and meaningless work, gives this man joy, purpose, meaning. Treat every day as if you’re building a cathedral, that which illuminates your heart and soul.

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