Watching a documentary on building the Gothic Cathedrals, I was struck by something other than the awe inspiring finished product. Instead I wondered how the stone masons dealt with mistakes made in the past, in the lower layers of stone.
I suppose if a mistake is caught soon enough it can be fixed, but what happens when correcting that ill fitting or imperfectly laid stone would mean tearing down vast sections of arches, buttresses and walls? That got me thinking that perhaps the true craft of the master stone mason is not perfection, but adaptation. No doubt it is the goal of any stone mason to cut and lay each stone perfectly. Yet, no matter how excellent the mason, sooner or later the accumulative effect of even slight imperfections adds up. The completed structure is not a series of perfect stones, but a series of minute corrections.
Life is like that. There is nothing we can do to change what we did yesterday, last year, let alone ten or twenty years ago. Unfortunately, when we discover that things are not quite as we would like in our lives there is a tendency to focus on the “wrongs” of the past. We will spend countless hours fretting and fuming over things that no one can do anything to change. Good or bad, the past is the past. it is what it is.
That doesn’t mean that we turn a blind eye to the past, Like a master mason, we have to be aware of how the past has shaped the present. The focus, however, is not of repairing the past or even less helpful, throwing a temper tantrum over the past. The focus is on what corrective measures need to be taken in the stones laid today and tomorrow. The goal is always to build a strong structure, or in life, a mature healthy person.
When the past consumes us we are a victim of our own making to the events of the past. When we adapt and move forward we make something beautiful of our lives. Tomorrow is full of possibilities for those who accept the past, adapt and move on.