The two brother brick layers worked as quietly and smoothly as polished granite – with seemingly little effort and without a word passed between them.
While one yielded a masonry hammer in his calloused right hand to trim and clean bricks, the other lifted a trowel in his rough right hand to butter up bricks with a layer of mortar before placing them next to another.
One brick after another they carefully built a brick veneer on the front of a house that had been constructed in a matter of weeks.
“The designers of this house want it to look its very best for those who will soon move in and live here,” one of the brothers allowed, “and we’re proud of this work.”
“It’s also important to remember that this will be someone’s home, a place of warmth and security for a family,” the other brother added as they both stood in front of the house.
Unbeknownst to these two brick layers, they share a sentiment with the stone masons who built medieval cathedrals; the work of both offers a feeling of strength, safety, and warmth for a family.
Commanding in their Christian symbolism and presence, cathedrals – usually constructed in the shape of a cross – were created from iron and stone like limestone, granite and flint.
As to construction time, on average it took 250 to 300 years to build a cathedral, as hundreds of stone masons labored to realize the architects’ vision.
And like today’s brick layers, those stone masons also had a dream of standing inside a cathedral and looking at the high walls, the stain glass windows, and vaulted ceiling.
Both brick layer and stone mason understood that what they could see with their minds would determine the way in which they worked with their hands.
Their work is priceless.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.
Don Doman says
A friend asks if you live in Tillicum and if you rent boats?
p.s. Another nice article . . .
DAVID ANDERSON says
I live in Tillicum and at one time rented boats and will again but we are a significant ways off from making that happen again. Thanks for asking and for the comment on the article.
Ken Karch says
Nice article, David. Brings to mind the story of the three bricklayers, which I have used in many management training events, on the power of purpose.
A quick and dirty summary is found below:
“…The story of three bricklayers is a multi-faceted parable with many different variations, but is rooted in an authentic story. After the great fire of 1666 that leveled London, the world’s most famous architect, Christopher Wren, was commissioned to rebuild St Paul’s Cathedral.
One day in 1671, Christopher Wren observed three bricklayers on a scaffold, one crouched, one half-standing and one standing tall, working very hard and fast. To the first bricklayer, Christopher Wren asked the question, “What are you doing?” to which the bricklayer replied, “I’m a bricklayer. I’m working hard laying bricks to feed my family.” The second bricklayer, responded, “I’m a builder. I’m building a wall.” But the third brick layer, the most productive of the three and the future leader of the group, when asked the question, “What are you doing?” replied with a gleam in his eye, “I’m a cathedral builder. I’m building a great cathedral to The Almighty.”
Online you will find many variations of this story, but each version tells of three people working on the same wall, doing the same work, but with totally different perspectives…”
More of the above quoted story can be found at:
DAVID ANDERSON says
Excellent commentary Ken. Like the computer lingo: WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get. What you can envision with your mind has so much to do with how you work with your hands.
Brian Nelson says
Great article, and great comments. Brings to mind Ken Follett’s “Kingsbridge Series”, “Pillars of the Earth” is the first of 3-maybe 4 novels. Brilliant. Historical fiction, but tells the story of building cathedrals. Fascinating.