Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Turn It Over

Our grandson's little Onesie with The Very Hungry Caterpillar crawling on it (carrot stains included), reminded me of a poster I saw in photos of Eric Carle's (the author and artist) studio. In letters, creatively scripted in his characteristically colored torn paper collages, it said,
"You cannot plow a field 
by turning it over
in your mind."
 The farmer's calloused hands do not come from resting them in his lap on the porch swing.

The painter's splattered overalls do not happen while he watches television.

The skilled hands of the neurosurgeon do not learn their expertise from holding a fork.

The intricate stitches of the knitter do not knit themselves while she sleeps.

The powerful blending of the orchestration does not happen without hours of practice.

A baby's developing skills take hours and hours of repeated movements. He lies on the floor, kicking his feet, waving his arms, stretching and working and moving as he learns to turn over. The "want to" is there, in his mind, you can see it. But he has to work it out, through his muscles, putting the energy into the effort to make it happen. The amount of work is exhausting, and sometimes frustrating.

A working plan means exactly that. Work the plan. Planning does not the work accomplish. A plan of work.

All the goals and dreams and thoughts and plans will not happen without the work, the motion, the energy to accomplish them. Little by little. Day by day. One wiggle, one squirm, one effort at a time. One day, soon, he will be crawling and sitting up by himself. And then, on to new skills. My plans and goals will be accomplished the same way, one effort, one day at a time. New skills added to old skills. By effort, not by dreaming.

The farmer plows and plants and prays for rain.

The painter climbs the ladder and tapes the trim and rolls the paint across the walls.

The neurosurgeon studies the books and continually learns.

The knitter tries new patterns, pulls out the stitches and re-works them until it is right.

The orchestra practices individually, for hours, then together, more hours.

The baby laughs and often cries as his body learns and grows.

All of us, learn and grow and change, with effort. Sometimes laughing. Sometimes with tears.

"For the dream comes through much effort..."
Ecclesiastes 5:3


  1. Lots of motivation in this post. Thank you!
    (visiting from SDG)

  2. What a good (and necessary) kick in the pants. Great post.