In reading Michael Meade’s Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements of the Soul, I came across a passage in which he describes three kinds of shoemakers. The first makes shoes in order to make a living. He makes good shoes, and therefore, a good living. The second kind is a craftsman that makes shoes for the art of it. He makes the most beautiful shoes that can possibly be made. But the third type of shoemaker makes shoes that connect the feet of the wearer to the Earth. The third type of shoemaker makes shoes for the love of something divine in the people who wear them. These are life-long shoes, and they are made “…religiously, spiritually, devotionally, in the spirit of life being fully lived and in the knowledge of death waiting with its inevitable questions.”
In reading this passage, I could not help but think of a man I met over the holidays in the Photographer’s hometown. This man, interestingly enough, was named Schumacher, and he was, appropriately, a maker of boots. Not just any boots, but handlasted, custom fit boots, each pair made specifically for the feet of the wearer. Mr. Schumacher told me that the Photographer worked in his shop, briefly, when he was younger, and that one day, he accidentally put a huge leatherworking needle through his finger while working on a saddle and almost passed out.
There are many ways in which fate conspires to teach us which activities we are or are not suited for. Some are more subtle than others.
I think that today, if met someone who wanted career advice, I might say that it may not be so important what you choose. There are many possible paths, and quite possibly, many good ones. But whatever you do, do it, “…religiously, spiritually, devotionally, in the spirit of life being fully lived and in the knowledge of death waiting with its inevitable questions.” And perhaps, if you happen to put a needle through your finger, take the hint.