“Craftsmanship” is my one word definition of beauty.
Something that is beautiful has been well-crafted. It serves its purpose efficiently, was made uniquely and lovingly by a Master Crafstman and it stands up to the test of time.
In view of this definition, I have some thoughts about how life is like a craft:
1. A craft is something that you learn by doing.
Life must be lived in order to learn how to live beautifully. We learn as much or more from our mistakes as from our successes – and don’t repeat them in the life lived beautifully.
2. A craft is something that you learn from a master of the craft.
An apprentice learns from a Master, is skilled as a journeyman, but must be able to pass on their craft before they can be truly called a Master.
3. A craft is something that is designed to be shared.
We are not the purpose of our life. We are crafted to be shared with the world. A craftsman does not create a museum to their own greatness, but meets the needs of others by their skill and care.
4. A craft is something that is designed to be useful.
People need the items a craftsman creates. The fulfillment of their function, and not their form alone, is what makes them cherished.
5. A craft is something that is designed to be beautiful.
Our lives are to meet needs, not in a utilitarian way, but in an artful way, that not only is the immediate need addressed, but also the inner cry for substance and delight.
6. A craft is something that should produce objects that outlive the craftsman.
What and how you make – makes and forms you. Build to last, and your life will live on through your family, friends and neighbors.
7. A craft is something that makes unique creations.
We are not designed to be automatons, but creative beings. To take an object from inception to completion fulfills the human soul whereas a step on a factory line inhibits human flourishing. We are not cogs in a wheel, but living parts of a family. Our lives should be uniquely lived – as we have been uniquely made.
8. A craft is something that should be passed on.
Many falsely believe that the end of a craftsman is the craft they form – but a life lived beautifully engages with the next generation and coaches them to replace and outperform the current one.
9. A craft is something that earns a living.
Lives exchanged. Commerce is simply exchanging of lives. The product of one to meet the need of another from the overflow of their product. Life should be productive. We were created to reproduce and create life, not simply to spend our lives…but to invest them.
10. A craft is something that needs other crafts to exist.
The woodworker needs the blacksmith to make the tools. The blacksmith needs the miner to harvest the ore. We all need the farmer to provide us with nutritive food. The farmer needs the woodworker, the blacksmith and the miner to plow his field. Lives lived in isolation miss the point of God creating us to need a mother and a father in order to live. We are designed to be in relationship.
Life is beautiful when it is well-crafted.