Have you ever put together a fireplace mantle of river rock & mortar? Until yesterday I would have said no as well.

Rosie and I have been doing some minor renovations in the basement, and one of the things we decided to do was replace the fireplace mantle. There wasn’t anything wrong with the old one, other than it’s been there for 15 years, and we wanted a change. So, we bought some manufactured river rock that you cement to the wall, and then fill in the gaps around them with mortar. 

To start, we spent hours carefully sorting through all the rocks to find the ones that fit together based on size, shape, and colour. Sorting the rocks was tedious work, and worth the time it took. In the end, we cemented the rocks to the wall. Our new oasis started to take shape.

Yesterday morning, the cement behind the rocks was solid, and I started with the mortar. It was very tedious work, using a bag like you’d use to decorate a cake, putting cement between the rocks. To smooth the cement I used a combination of my fingers, a screwdriver, and gardening tools. Anything that could fulfill a need; I made use of. 

It took me about 5 hours to do about half the mortar job. Despite how sore my muscles became, I don’t mind this type of work as it gives me lots of time to think, while I do something with my hands. I love the outcome, which doesn’t surprise me as I’m good at this type of work.

Later this week, I’ll be finishing the mortar, and I can hardly wait until the cold weather when we are relaxing in the basement enjoying a fire. 

Thought of the week

As I was putting the mortar between the rocks, I couldn’t help but think how this mosaic is a perfect metaphor for life. There are rocks of different shapes, sizes, and colours. Some rocks have imperfections, and others are cool as they look like they could contain fossils. The mortar forms the bond which takes them from being disconnected rocks, to a beautiful fireplace mantle. 

Life is much like our mantle. Life is full of experiences of all shapes and sizes. Some of our experiences are positive and might even seem perfect. Others experiences are imperfect and possibly even unpleasant. Whatever our experiences, though, the rocks in our life form who we are today. The mortar is what brings them together and makes them complete. In other words, all of your experiences in life is what makes you; you. 

Everything which has made you who you are today is an important part of your life. Your experiences with work, death, love, conflict, success and everything between is what makes you complete. You cannot change this fact. What you do with your life is all that matters. 

Are you ready to make a difference?  

I am.