Second Beginnings

Life changes.   

     Change is not always easy and I have heard that it enhances your life; makes it more exciting.

Recently, my life has been handed massive changes and if anything it makes me grateful.

let me explain.

     Recently, when discussing the past with a fellow colleague named John (who I worked with for several years and that I respect greatly) said something that struck me: He said: "When I realize with all that I learned at Krumpen Woodworks and without that knowledge I would not be where I am today". The thought hit me.

That's it...Gratitude...that is what makes life worth living.

You can have a horrible day...wonder why you decided to work wood.

Gratitude says to you: "You just learned something today, and there will be days ahead that you will love what your doing..."  

     I have decided to write out some of the challenges of starting a new business recently and this blog has a way of reaffirming: "WHY be grateful?" Sharing the challenges of what makes us keep going when everything in our being says: "Are you nuts?!"

     I want to share some of the stories from my past that have made me appreciate people and their ways of doing things. I have learned that every person I have run across in my life has something to give, something to teach. We must only avail ourselves of the lessons.

     Recently someone has come back into my life that has made me think deeply about gratitude. 

     When I was 19 I started on the path to woodworking...knowing nothing...strapping on a pouch..swinging a hammer...

I thought: "Oh Yeah, this is it.... "

One person took the time to try to teach me various aspects of carpentry, rough and fine. It was John mentioned previously.  Once, while trying to fit some base shoe around a cabinet John took the time to show me how to use a compass to "scribe" base shoe to the cabinet and floor. I thought to myself, "Oh NOW THIS IS IT!"

It is funny to me now, but every technique, every new piece of knowledge, made me say that same thing in my head: "NOW THIS IS IT!" But it wasn't.

      Every piece of knowledge I was given was just a mosaic of knowledge being put in place, piece by piece until it becomes a part of you. It is very much like what a fellow carpenter said to me years ago: "Carpentry is not doing one big thing, it's doing many little things to create the whole". So true.

     So after 2 years in woodwork then going to building houses from every aspect; like putting on the tar on the foundation to all the way to nailing off ridge shingles...every aspect of building a house for about  2 years. Then for the next 3 years going to a crew of five guys on a framing crew and learning the ability to think on your feet, then becoming a foreman, framing complicated stick built roofs only to be seriously injured by a load of trusses to then find myself back at the same place I started.  A small architectural firm in Genoa City, Wisconsin doing once again, architectural millwork and working with my extended family from 1996-2016. Then only to see the family business be dissolved and being forced to strike out on my own. Sometimes scared...sometimes feeling alone. And it brought back all I have learned: that mosaic of knowledge and experiences with people and it has focused me on what's really important: To be Grateful.

         Something recently drove home that point for me.  Getting started out, buying tools like the big ticket items were hard to acquire at first and sometimes thought I was being delusional, I mean why even try? Was I being realistic? My wife believed in me and my work, my ability; always reassurring that it was obvious to her I just needed to believe in myself. Then work started to roll in.

      I took a small percentage of every job, spent it on tools and things started to build, so that every step I found myself being excited even grateful at trying to do this thing. Don't get me wrong, it's scary. I would think to myself: "Will we make it?" Sometimes going without sleep. Gratitude is the thing that says to you " So what if it ends tomorrow.? Be happy when rich or poor" 

Recently, I was thinking about a tool I really needed was a good wide belt sander or drum sander for helping out on one of the most laborious parts of woodworking. I thought: "I want one of those 25" Powermatic's but there's no way I can afford that..."

And it was O.K. because I was happy at the progress I had made so far, even grateful I didn't need everything. I mean I could not believe I made it this far! 

Then a day later an old friend came back into my life. It was my fellow mentor John. (John had struck out on his own years ago and though we seldom saw each other we crossed paths at times) John said: "Hey I heard you were in business and was wondering if you needed any tools? You see... someone helped me when I started out, and I would like to pass along the favor" 

"Oh?  really?..Sure!" I said in amazement.. "what do you have? ...."

"A double drum sander. It's a 25" Powermatic" 

Tonight, I went out to my shop and looked at my new drum sander.

It was not the tool that made me so grateful...but that sander brought to mind all these years of work and mistakes and knowledge...and something I missed... people.

A kind act of someone who understands. And I said to myself...


THE LESSON: Be grateful. Life has a way of making it happen for you. If you only avail yourself of the lessons.  Every step, Every grateful.

Especially for those that teach us how to be.



Archie McDonaldComment