The following article is my attempt at answering The Sandbox Writing Challenge — Exercise 5
Okay. My spade, my shovel and my digging forks are poised. Yes, gulp, I have several of each tool.
When I was younger – I wasn’t that young that I didn’t have a family (admittedly my eldest son had only just started primary school) – a director of the organisation I worked for insisted on signing off on my yearly appraisal and adding this comment:
“Kelvin is the kind of person who, if he sees a hill of excrement, will not act like other people. He won’t walk around it, pondering. Neither will he walk up to it and prod it with a stick. Neither will he walk around and around it, then manage or participate in ring-fencing it. No, Kelvin will stomp right up to it and wade right in. He will stomp around until he gets to the heart of the problem then he will share what he finds with his superiors so together everyone might find the best solution.”
I am unsure if this analogy sprang from some management book of the eighties or the nineties, however it doesn’t really matter. That director, who had an interesting an unusual name (which to share with you might get me into trouble), captured the essence of me.
Nowadays, I would like to think if I were still in multi-million pound cutting edge engineering, that before I stomped right in to those hills of excrement we tend to cover problems with until they become a mountain we cannot move, I would wear PPE first (Personal Protection Equipment – googles, boots, gloves, heck – a deep sea diver’s suit!) I would also like to think I would check the surroundings to make sure any onlookers were well back and didn’t get splattered by the proverbial hitting the fan – unless they wanted to be in the way, of course.
These days, having written this, I would also like to think I pray before acting and after thinking. That I would keep my thoughtfulness, prayerfulness and action in proportion to each other, while never losing sight of the undeniable truth that mountains, be they made of rocks or Sugar Honeyed Iced Tea, can be moved by faith and love.
The ingredient this director’s analogy seems to identify in me is: I am a man of action.
Digging deeper, I would also like to think I am reliable. I do those tasks others fear. I am not afraid of working alone in adverse conditions (I view writing as one of these areas where I have to face down my monsters every day – monsters who bang and crash and can roar that these words I am writing are rubble, and will never form part of that building I am the architect, builder (bricklayer, roofer, plumber, electrician, carpenter, plasterer, double-glazer) and inspector for.
Digging even deeper, I discover:
I am disciplined yet creative;
I am playful yet serious;
I am patient, yet sometimes I am intense;
I am energetic, yet it must be channelled.
Substituting my shovel and spade for a pickaxe and chiselling away at the bedrock of me, I find these nuggets:
I am a listener, conscious of not losing their voice;
I am strong, whether I want to be or not;
I am gentle;
I cannot help sharing;
I just cannot stop caring;
I am akin to these grains of sand slipping through my fingers.