Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Smock of Sagacity

The Smock of Sagacity and My Tool Belts


I want to share with you some insights that I recently had while working on a couple of projects around the house.

Rodger Harding, my former father-in-law, presented me with a great gift. Rod, as he liked to be called, was a very meticulous and skilled craftsman. He had solid skills as a mechanic, and especially as an electrician. He owned a comprehensive set of tools that he kept in his toolbox. He knew how to use them. Many times over the years when he and my mother-in-law came to visit Rod would offer to do repair work to the house. He installed bathroom fans, kitchen lights, doors and many other similar projects.

One of the things that I noticed about his work was that he always took great pride in the quality of the job that he undertook. He never seemed rushed, but he always spent enough time on a project so that when he was finished the final product really looked and functioned very well. I once got a look at the basement of his mountain cabin where Rod had installed his water heater. I will always recall what a tidy job he had done. The pipes, hoses, flues and the water heater all became a sort of sculpture. 

Up to that time the quality of my plumbing jobs were functional, but not necessarily "pretty". I realized that it was possible to combine form with function. It took years for me to incorporate the higher standard, but I started toward that goal after seeing the cabin's plumbing. It was his dedication to high quality craftsmanship that appealed to me. I came to realize that I was setting my standards of craftsmanship to try to match those of Rod.

Rod passed away about twenty years ago. I ultimately acquired many of his tools, including his tool chest. I also received his tan mechanic's smock.

Nowadays, when I am working on an electrical or plumbing project, I don Rod's smock. I like that it protects my clothing, and it provides some nice pockets for rags, pencils, and some tools. It also helps me to stay focused on the project.

The smock also provides some other benefits. I have especially noticed lately that when I am wearing the smock, I feel connected to Rod. I get a sense that he is sort of looking over my shoulder, and offering some advice.

Last week I had to rebuild my garage door operator. I needed to replace the gears. When the parts came, I donned the smock and went to work. The project went along smoothly until I needed to remove a drift pin that held the main gear onto the drive shaft. I needed a drift pin punch, and I did not think I had one - I looked but could not find anything that would work. An inner voice kept after me to search Rod's old toolbox. In one of the drawers, in a small pouch with regular punches was one drift pin punch, and it turned out to be the exact size for the pin I needed to remove. The rest of the job went very well, and I saved lots of money by doing the repairs myself.

Whenever I wear the smock, I feel confident, calm and patient. I strongly sense Rod's spirit. I usually acknowledge this presence, and give my regards to him by my gratitude for all that he shared with me. All the while, I give blessings to Rod as I honor him.

I remain my own man, but I feel somehow that my wearing that smock enhances my skills. It is almost as if the smock imparts super powers. I now possess the calmness, assurance, and skills of a master. They are my skills, but they were given to me.  

While wearing the Smock of Sagacity, I enter into a form of meditation. I come to grasp the truth of "chop wood - carry water." I come completely into the moment, and I become focused on the project. My mind is quiet, and I am present. More than anything, I feel connected to God.

My understanding of prayer is clearer now too. I now realize that blessings can and do come from those of us on the earth plane. I know that we can and do bless those who have already passed. It is true as well that as we bless them we too are blessed. The whole realm of these prayers spreads to others who were instrumental in my development as a man. I think of my parents, grandparents, teachers, mentors at the railroad, coworkers at the FAA and so many more. I honor these and others, and trust that what I do and share may pass the blessings along.

Thank you Rod!