I read a book most nights with my son before bed called Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel. The book is about a man and his steam shovel named Mary Anne who are losing work due to the new gasoline shovels that have entered the work force. In order to prove that they should be given the work of the more advanced shovels they go to a small town and promise to dig as fast in one day as 100 men could dig in a week or the town won’t have to pay for their work digging out the basement of the new town hall. The town takes them to task and they begin digging. As you can guess the childrens book does a good job of describing the hard work of Mike and Mary Anna throughout the day. People continually get behind them, cheering them on. There are few that want them to fail as well (hence no payment), but the majority are quite supportive. We always seem to want the underdog to win.
Mike and Mary Anne finish the job on time but forget to create a way out. The amount of time it would take to get out would put them over time so in essence they failed. All seems to be for not, especially when you think that they will probably never get a job again, when the town comes up with the idea to use the steam shovel as the new furnace in the town hall and allow Mike Mulligan to be the new janitor of the town hall. A sort of evolution, I guess, into a new role and purpose.
I feel much in the same way as Mike. I felt like at one point I was in a role that was relevant and I could really stretch my wings, but somewhere along the line there was no more need of the steam shovels and I could either die slowly, or re-invent myself. Today I feel like I have re-invented myself, even if what I am becoming is not clear yet. But I now ponder that former role I had and wonder its relevance today. I am not sure which metaphor to use here, but we will always need holes; perhaps the way to dig them will continually change and evolve but I am not too sure I know what the new shovel will look like.
But what I am sure is that I still haven’t seen it.