There were once three stonemasons all hard at work when an observer came on site. Moments later the work bell went off signaling the end of the day. The observer addressed the first stonemason saying, “Excuse me, sir, would you mind commenting on what you do for a living?” He turned around, bent and grumbling, sweat pouring off his brow and retorted, “Can’t you see I am a stonemason! I have been laying stone all day. But they don’t own me anymore! The bell has gone off and I am out of here!” And he shuffled off.

The observer then approached the second stonemason, asking the same question. With a smile on his face and a song in his step, the stonemason responded, “I am a stonemason. As you can see I am laying stone. But if you take a step back you will see that we are building a wall here. We’ve come pretty far today, too, about three and a half feet. Not bad for a day’s work.” And the stonemason proudly walked on.

When the observer reached the third stonemason, she was still working and he approached her saying, “Excuse me, but the work bell has gone off and you are free to go.” She turned saying, “Oh no, I am not done for the day and you cannot force me to leave!” “Fine,” said the observer, “but would you mind commenting on what you do for a living? The final stonemason beamed saying, “I am a stonemason. As you can see I am laying stone. But if you take a closer look, you will see that we are building a wall here. We’ve come pretty far today, too, about three and a half feet. But if you look even closer, you will see that we are building a cathedral in this place!”

[as told by Denise Bissonnette in The Wholehearted Journey: Bringing Qualities of Soul to Everyday Life and Work, p. 71-72]

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