Thursday, 23 February 2012

The stone cutters

Whilst writing this months newsletter I remembered the old story of the stone cutters. A great metaphor for the importance of purpose.

A traveller came across three stonemasons hammering chunks of granite. To the first he asked “my dear fellow what is it that you are doing?”

The man continued his work and grumbled, “I am cutting stones.”

The traveller moved toward the second of the three and repeated the question. This time the man stopped his work, ever so briefly, and stated that he was a stonecutter. He then added “I came from the north to work but as soon as I earn ten quid I will return home.” The traveller thanked the second mason, wished him a safe journey home and headed to the third stonemason.

He asked the same question. The worker paused, glanced at the traveller and then looked skyward. He said “I am building a cathedral.” He continued, “I have journeyed many miles to be part of the team that is constructing this magnificent cathedral. I know how important it will be one day and how many people will find sanctuary and solace here. I know this because the Bishop once told me his vision for this great place. He described how people would come from all parts to worship here. He also told that the Cathedral would not be completed in our days but that the future depends on our hard work.” He paused and then said, “So I am prepared to be away from my family because I know it is the right thing to do. I hope that one day my son will continue in my footsteps and perhaps even his son if need be.”

"Cathedrals are incredible testaments to human endeavour. It is not only their grandeur or splendour, but the thought that they often took more than fifty years to build. Those who designed them, those who first worked on them, knew for certain that they would never see them finished. They knew only that they were creating something glorious which would stand for centuries, long after their own names had been forgotten.....

We may not need any more cathedrals but we do need cathedral thinkers, people who can think beyond their own lifetimes." Charles Handy


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Lisa

      Yes me too! A lovely powerful metaphor, especially in the current climate. Purpose not money is King!