Do With What You Have

I am teaching this week at the John C. Campbell Folk School, in Brasstown, NC. I took a walk around the campus this afternoon and was struck by this barn. It has been here for almost one hundred years and is still standing. Sure that is amazing, yet look at the way it was put together. Pieced together to endure the years, provide utility and because they used the wood they could find.

We work hard to get things right, do things right, and we do all that to ensure the things we create endure over time. This reminded me that perfection does not always mean longevity, doing what you can with what you have will endure as well. Sometimes life does not hand us all the right pieces, parts and processes to get the job done. So we build and toil to get things right with our current options, not knowing if it is enough.

There are amazing things that have endured the tests of time simply because quality work went into creating a quality product with only what was available. We forget that everything does not have to be perfect in order for our work to progress. Sometimes you have to use what is available until something better comes along or until the job gets done. Letting go of the frustrations perfectionism creates means being creative with your current options even if they are not your first choice.

I’m sure the people who built this barn would have loved to use the best wood in the forest, highest quality with the best tools. That may not have been an option. So they built it how they could with what they knew to do and here I stand in front of it almost one hundred years later. Something they did survived even if the barn was not perfect, it worked. Allowing ourselves to be open to doing enough without fretting over everything being perfect goes a long way. This barn is still here, what you are doing can endure as well.

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