A Short Story of Inspiration For Your Day :-)

Consider the story of two stonemasons.

You walk up to the first stonemason and ask, ‘Do you like your job?’. He looks up at you and replies, ‘I’ve been building this wall for as long as I can remember. The work is monotonous and I work in the scorching hot sun all day. The stones are heavy and liftingย them day after day can be backbreaking. I’m not even sure if this project will be completed in my lifetime. But its a job. It pays the bills.’

You thank him for his time and walk on…

About thirty feet away, you walk up to a second stonemason. You ask him the same question, ‘Do you like your job?’. He looks up and replies, ‘I love my job. I’m building a cathedral. Sure, I’ve been working on this wall for as long as I can remember, and yes, the work is sometimes monotonous. I work in the scorching hot sun all day. The stones are heavy and lifting them day after day can be backbreaking. I’m not even sure if this project will be completed in my lifetime. But I’m building a cathedral.’

Now this is not a story of ‘choose to be optimistic, it feels better’. We know optimism is good for us and we certainly don’t need two stonemasons to tell us that.

The meaning of this story is deeper.

The story told the fate of someone who would work to pay the bills. The other would work for something bigger than himself.

You see, it’s not what we physically or rationally do that is inspiring. But rather our own interpretation of it. The second stonemason had worked for a cause that was bigger than himself. Even if we rationally build a stonewall, like all the other stonemasons, his vision was much greater and far exceeding than those of others.

Building a cathedral was not his job. It was his calling.

What is yours?

Let me know in the comments below! ๐Ÿ™‚


65 thoughts on “A Short Story of Inspiration For Your Day :-)

  1. My calling? My calling has been to… I don’t know how to explain it… I just want to change the way people see themselves. How they see others. How they communicate… I dunno… I’ve been called a bunch of names… good and bad. And.. I’m trying to teach others how to.. do that thing that I do lol

  2. I worked in education for 35 years. I daily grind was often difficult; however, my mission was to change the system; reform was my calling.

    Now I work to improve myself.

      1. I see it as a basic truism. To flesh it out a bit, I am convinced some people, even with infinite time and infinite resources, would not find or develop a calling. The story of the stonemasons suggests a calling is a matter of perspective or attitude. This is indeed true in many cases, but likely not all. In our culture the idea that everyone has a passion and an ability to make a living that nurtures that passion is a very strong narrative. It also puts immense pressure on people that have not found their calling. These people can feel like failures, and can become increasingly frustrated, as many people around them relish in their callings as they, thinking they have missed the boat, continue to struggle through.
        Thus it is helpful to remind everyone that the baseline, the ultimate purpose of work, is to out food on the table. For those that have not found a calling, or who actually don’t have one, it can help them keep perspective and relax, finding comfort in the truth that they are working to survive, just like their fellow stonemasons.

      2. I feel Maslowโ€™s hierarchy of needs would help clarify how they come about. When and under what circumstances can one divert time to higher levels of satisfaction

      1. Specific word choice. “Everyone needs to eat”. Some people just do what they have to do to get by in life. Not everyone feels called to a particular vocation. Most of the time people are too busy or under too much pressure to enjoy the leisure of metaphorical freedom, the space and lightness within their hearts or their heads. So, like any solider of war, they just… do what they have to do. Whatever needs to be done. And at the end of the day, they get to go home and break bread with their family. They can enjoy the fruits of their labour. Or hopefully it is fruitful. Some people aren’t so fortunate to have a feast.

  3. A decade ago, I would have said with absolute conviction that it’s Fashion Design! Now that I have downed the shutters of my business I really don’t know what to say. I’m back at that crossroads wondering the reason behind this life!!

  4. I’ve never cared about money. Yes, I’ve had a job (Just Over Broke) and always have lived “A Paycheck Away From Poverty” (the title of a book written by college Business English teacher). The only ‘career’ I’ve had has been working with and helping others. That’s been the reward for me in this life.

  5. My job pays the bills. But my calling is to show people how to walk in God’s kingdom while they are on this earth. I’m still working on realizing that calling, because I’m still learning how to do it, myself.

  6. I’ve had jobs because you know bills don’t wait for nobody…but I recently got back into the thing I love and that’s nursing. I’m a nursing assistant for now, but I’ll be working toward a nursing degree soon. But healing and providing comfort is my calling.

  7. Either mason is on the right path. They are both building something; their reasons do not matter. I am a teacher in a shitty school. I don’t get to build something. I put a brick in the wall and then someone takes it out. I put that same brick back in and someone takes it out. I put that same brick back in and someone takes it out. I put that same brick back in and someone takes it out.
    I’ve tried to be ok with the job instead of walking away. But I put a brick in the wall and someone takes it out. Now that I have a family and other obligations, I can’t walk away from the job like I would like to.
    My only answer is to build something outside the bounds of the system. Despite the system. In spite of the system.
    That part about not seeing the completion of your work…that’s the kick in the gut.

    1. Interesting point ๐Ÿ™‚
      I do however think that the reason of why people do whatever they do are the most important thing of all. The reason why you do your job gives you a certain feeling. And if you things for the right reasons then youโ€™ll perceive life a much better way compared to someone who associates purely rational reasons (e.g. paying the bills) with their job. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks for sharing !

    2. Imagine if you didnt keep putting the brick back in, i think they’d find another to remove, making it all the more less secure. Thank you for what you do

  8. I consider being positively impactful in every way i possibly can to be my calling. To heal where it hurts. To love when hate prevails. To guide and teach my generation and the ones who will come after i’ve left this world that we’re all truly real life super heroes and that everyone’s got something special to offer… basically. Beautiful post by the way ๐Ÿ˜Š

  9. Some people canโ€™t travel the world. My goal… or even, my calling is to bring the world to the people. Iโ€™ve been told that I should embrace the time I have on this earth and put down my camera… but I want to help other people embrace it!

  10. This is really beautiful. There is definitely a difference between simply doing something because you have to and doing something because you want to.

  11. It’s so easy to ask “what’s your calling?” and it’s so hard to answer. I’ve been troubled by this question alone since I was a teenager and I’m beginning to think that my life’s mission is just to find a satisfactory answer haha! Maybe one day we’ll all know our answers, we just have to remember to enjoy the journey along the way.
    Thanks for your thoughtful article.

  12. The way I originally heard that story was that the visitor spoke to three workers. The first said he was building a building, the second that he was building a cathedral, but the third said he was building a cathedral to the glory of God! Something much greater than ourselves, indeed!

  13. I’ve always struggled with the questions of calling, meaning in life, passion etc. But I do believe all of us are a part of something bigger than ourselves. Whatever we do, think or be, contributes to that bigger thing.

    Oh and sidenote, loved the story!! A very welcome thought for the day! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Maintaining a positive mindset is great, but not at all easy.As a person who has gone through challenges and fortunes (both unexpectedly), I can say that for sure. Here the person does a job without actually liking it, mostly to sustain himself and the family. This is the general trend we notice. Seeing happiness in any situation and considering it as a calling, like the 2nd man, needs an altogether different mindset.
    About myself, I know what is my calling and hope it is on its way. (Obviously, I am nearing it). Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  15. That’s right!! Passion is what matters a lot. Without passion, work becomes monotonous and boring!! It will be really nice if you read some of my short stories. Kindly read and let me know your views on them. Thank You.

    The Pleasant Lie https://thoughtsoftharun.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/the-pleasant-lie-of-charm/

    The Abandoned Hamlet https://thoughtsoftharun.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/the-abandoned-hamlet/

    Mystery of History: Short story https://thoughtsoftharun.wordpress.com/2018/03/24/mystery-of-history-short-story/

    The entry into darkness https://thoughtsoftharun.wordpress.com/2018/03/24/the-entry-into-darkness/

  16. I loved this story! For me, the meaning of inspiration in it lies in the idea of building something, which is what the second stonemason did physically and emotionally. Contributing to something bigger than ourselves is always at the root of inspiration. I feel part of my calling currently is to teach through my words, to help, to offer hope, and perhaps to even inspire through them.

  17. I believe that everyone is meant to do meaningful work, no matter what job we have or what we do. That is, it is possible to find a bigger meaning in anything we do. No one is here just to survive. That story touches that very nicely! Thanks!

  18. Nice writeup, I don’t think I know my calling now, I think its a gradual process, I just want to render any help I can and I know in the process of doing that I’ll discover myself and find my calling.

  19. My calling is to create awareness about the possibilities in the disability world. I want to give a message across that visually impaired people can and have been doing tremendously well in every profession.

  20. This is mind blowing. A stonemason will love his job till the day he dies. The other stonemason will work for a living. It is impressive how you came up with this idea. Good post!

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