In two different laboratories, two technicians work diligently at their projects.
One is trying to piece together something they found. They are not sure what they found: it feels precious and important but they are not sure they have all the pieces. However, they are convinced that once they work it out, what will be revealed will change the world.
The other is restoring a beautiful work of art that has been covered in dirt over the centuries. The faint outline of the image is there in many places but in others it is totally obscured.
The first goes through a process of assembling and reassembling the pieces they have; at times they glimpse something beautiful but in the end there are always holes and gaps and so they go in search for the missing piece once again.
At times they want to pretend to the world that the work is finished to avoid embarrassment; at times they become despondent but they are persistent, driven by an inner longing. They assemble and reassemble the object to see if it can come together in another way.
They receive encouragement from senior technicians, who share similar experiences and pass on assurances that it doesn’t matter if you get there or not, the focus and dedication that is shown is what needs to be appreciated. In fact the technician is so well known for their dedication that they get invited to conferences to speak about their work.
The second technician works patiently, starting on one section of the painting and is amazed at the beauty and the colour that is revealed.
The work is delicate and they need to continually fight the desire to rush ahead. Sometimes they do rush ahead and it leads to mistakes and delays long term. If they focus on what is yet to be done, they become despondent, but if they focus on what is being revealed, time evaporates.
At the start of each day, they set the tone for their work, either rushed and focused on what is left or still and joyful in the knowing that the whole image is already there and that all they need to do is remove what is covering it. People from the first lab would come in and start to ask if they thought the colours were as vibrant as they once were, or comment on the technical merits of the art work itself.
From time to time the technician gets distracted by this chatter, becoming concerned that what is being uncovered maybe not be what they anticipate. So once again, the technician has a choice, to be swayed by the ‘what might be’and the theories of jealous counterparts, or to be held in the knowing that what they are doing is already whole and complete. And with a dedication that is not measured by time or the accolades of others, but by a consistent dedication to restore each centimetre to the beauty and majesty that lies beneath.
In the laboratory of life we are often sold the job of the first technician. We are told we have to build something special but that we don’t have all the pieces already.
We are encouraged to find the missing pieces, the job, relationship, degree or award. We form groups who have all assembled their pieces in a similar way, so that the holes are less obvious. We even begin to think a life with holes is true and something to be acclaimed.
But the magic of life is the canvas, an image fully rendered and glorious in its beauty but obscured by past choices.
So the alternative is to work like the second technician. Knowing that our own soul is complete in every way and our work is to uncover a portion of colour and beauty a section at a time. We can become despondent at what is to be cleaned, or can be confirmed with every revelation that there is even more to uncover.