He was a cobbler, I often went to his shop as a child to get a shoe repaired. He sat on a leather mat on the floor, with a stool in front of him for costumer to sit and wait if they wish.
This shop smelled of leather, shoe shiner and polish. He had dirty stained clothes and hands. With tools to assist that comprised of a wooden elevator to put the shoe on to examine, a knife, a hammer, tuck pullers, thread and needles.
Often people while passing by, stopped by his side and put forward their foot wearing dusted sandals, which I often felt a gesture of disrespect.
He on the contrary, with mirth and service, cleaned them without getting offended and never asked anything in return.
Once while getting my shoes repaired I asked him a question why he really liked his job, as he often exclaimed.
‘I do petty job’, he said, ‘a small task’, ‘people like me do not get awed by shiny things. When we do small things we also get an insight to do big things. Such a person cannot be bought, we never lose focus of problem solving, life is easy with this skill’.
It was then that I realised why prophets were made to do petty jobs of being a shepherd. Of running behind arrogant, wild animals, to lead, to communicate without language, to deliver a tiresome task over and over again.
Since then I had great respect for people doing ordinary jobs. Just as a diamond is cut a hundred times to bring about its shine, we all go through tasks we despise, people we cannot cope with, cannot communicate well, or disagree often.
Such people may seem like a mad bull with shiny horns, ready to run us over every time. Yet they teach us that what we don’t visualise.
It’s a virtual training, to help us survive, rise, strike, make a new strategy, be vigilant, and break the cycle of habit.
Yet for that we need focus like a cobbler, tools to solve the problem, needle and thread to stitch the mistakes, to stretch ourselves to create our capacity and a hammer to repair time and again.
We all do small tasks, in hot waters do we learn the true strength of character, problem solving and resilience.
A knowledge that doesn’t teach humility is not complete.