Today I spent multiple hours less than a foot away from the foundations of a building that some of my friends live in. My job was to angle grind tar off the foundations to let the foundations breathe as a part of putting in a new drainage system. I was covered head to toe to protect me from the dust, and as I ground away at the black sealant I learned a lot of different things about life that surprised me.
Sometimes when we are super close to our objective we are unable to see how much dirt we are getting on ourselves.
Whenever I stopped to take a break from the grinding I would be so surprised at how much dust i was covered in. Later I would find more had found its way under my sleeves. My intense concentration meant that the idea that i was covered in dust had escaped me. At lunch people started pointing and laughing at me because my face was smeared with dust and sweat making me look like I had been to war or was bad at putting on makeup. And at first, I was confused, because I had forgotten about the dust.
I have found this many times in how I communicate on line, or how I make certain jokes. I am so excited about the goal and what I am communicating that I forget HOW it makes me seem, or the light it also throws on those around me. and its not until someone outside of my head points out the dirt on my face that I can then rectify the muddied image.
Some of my most tense filled conversations of the last 5 years of my life have been some of the best because I have caring good-natured people around me who fight for my good by pointing out the food in my beard, or the tag on my shirt or the blog that went too far, or the joke that was misunderstood.
Even today I was presenting something in front of a large group and a woman I highly respect asked if she could add something to what I was saying. She graciously corrected something I had said and brought the group to a much better understanding of goodness and creativity by humble boldness.
We will always find ourselves angle grinding foundations. We will occasionally get mud on places that shouldn’t have mud on, and we will always need those beloved outside voices to encourage, correct and inspire us to greater things.