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  • Carroll Devine

Grit and Granite

TRYING is NOT the same as DOING. While this may seem to be stating the obvious, it’s worth considering.

How many times have we all said, “I’m trying to _________” (Fill in the blank.)? If you are “trying” to do something, you are not “doing” it. Despite the effort you may be putting into the thing, the word “trying” inherently implies obstacles you have already set up in your mind or excuses for why you have not, or are not, accomplishing whatever it is. It is rather defeatist.

This is not at all to discount the effort, but wouldn’t it be more accurate, honest, and more ultimately satisfying to say instead with conviction, “I’ve started to ________” or “I’ve taken steps to ______________”? That way, no matter how small or large the task, each step you take on that road is another step accomplished. If you intend to do it, then do it. Don’t try to do it.

In Canada’s Nova Scotia one summer, I visited the beautiful castle-like church of St. Bernard, built of granite, in 20th century Gothic style. Begun in 1910, it took thirty-two years and the grit and hard work of local parishioners to construct it. The church parish’s population was small and of modest means, but the people determined to build a magnificent church and to not incur debt as they did.

Granite had to be brought in by rail to Little Brook Station in Acadian St. Bernard from Shelburne, about a hundred miles away, and then hauled to the construction site by ox cart. Local artisans and stonemasons cut and laid the stones – each year being able to afford only enough for one row of the building’s walls.

An Acadian poem tells of “une eglise bien batie…” a church well built, and an Acadian people, strong like granite…

Luckily, these parishioners weren’t trying to build this grand church. They were doing it – day by day, year by year.

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