This floor in the Uffizi Museum was created by bringing all the different colors of marble together. Expert craftsman mined the marble, shaped it, and worked to fit the pieces together to create the grand design. It took years to create the floor for this one room, and only the Medici family and their guests were able to walk across it. The craftsman never walked on the floor once it was completed.
There I stood staring at the floor behind a rope, not allowed to step on it and I had a small taste of what it must have felt like to be denied. To have worked so hard to create a master piece then being told you were unworthy to walk upon it. To have given your skills, time, energy and talent to something so big to be treated as unworthy upon completion. And for it to be accepted and understood and for no one to question it, because that is the way the world works, how must that have felt?
No one over said life was fair. No one ever said that you would always be treated with respect and admiration. No one ever said you would get everything you want and never have to struggle. No one ever said life was a level playing field and hard work would get you there. We want to believe these things, and yet in reality we all learn that these horrifying statements are true. Life isn’t fair. We are not always treated with respect and admiration. Life is not a level playing field, and hard work isn’t always enough to get there. Life is full of double standards, inequality, prejudice, games, pain and too much hard work.
Whew! That can make it all seem so worthless. Why try, why put in the effort when in the end life isn’t fair? In the end you might not even get to walk on the floor you spent years of your life creating? The disconnect between what we want to believe and how life really works can border on mania or at least depression. So why do it, why try? Why put yourself out there and risk being overlooked?
I think back to the craftsman and artists who made this floor so many centuries ago. For them it was their skill, their trade, their passion, and it is what put food on their table to feed their family. They took pride in a job well done and the beauty they worked to create. They could sit and pout or protest the injustice of it all, or they could do what they do best in the circumstances in which they lived and provide a better life for the ones they love. They could use their skill to earn or they could do nothing and starve. In the end we all do what it takes to create the life we want. We can work to change our circumstances, the laws, the way things are done but that only happens with action. Sitting back and refusing to work hard because life is unfair just wastes the gifts and talents we were given. It is better to rise above the pain and work to your own standard than to let the mania and depression get you down.
For the marble masters it was worth it to create a floor if only to work, earn, use their talents and leave something for generations to enjoy for centuries to come. Maybe today your task is to work hard, and well, and give your best efforts whether or not you see or experience the final results.