Here is a lobster boat, accompanied by a seagull, out setting traps (or bringing them in) in the Pemaquid Point area in midcoast Maine. Lobstering is hard work, from what I hear. Getting up in the dark, worrying about the weather, the physical labor, feuds with other fisherfolk, making enough money to live on, environmental worries. I admit only to doing the "hard work" of cracking open the shell after someone else has caught it, cooked it, and served it to me. I love to eat lobster - in my version of heaven, it's what's for dinner most every night. Lobster rolls, lobster cakes, steamed lobster with drawn butter, lobster burritos and quesadillas, lobster bisque, cold lobster claws in the shell on ice. Mmmm.
We rely so much on others for the things we love. Part of what makes lobster so wonderful for me is that it's a gift. I neither worked to have it nor earned having it. Someone else feels lobstering to be a calling - or maybe just work - and another person feels that creating wonderful dishes for others to eat is his or her calling, and someone has that gift of hospitality that spurs them to run a restaurant, and I just walk in, sit down, and get the benefit of all that. The fruit of all those callings, all that work which others do, arrives on a plate someone with a smile sets down in front of me.
What a life. How wonderful it is to be the beneficiary of so many gifts, every day. Some days I just drive down the street or walk by the shops and marvel. Who had the idea to open this music store, this bistro, this bookstore? Why do some people feel it is their calling to give massages? To become clowns? To grow vegetables and sell them at the farmer's market? To decorate people's houses?
We all have things we want to do - often a creative urge of some sort. It's important to find a place in which we can give in to that urge and make things, do things, grow things, provide things (tangible and intangible). And to find a place where one's gifts are both needed and able to be accepted.
I remember the children's story by James Marshall about George and Martha, the hippo friends; Martha loves to cook split pea soup. She doesn't particularly like to eat it, but she loves to cook it. She cooks pots and pots of it for George, who doesn't actually like split pea soup, either, but he eats it because Martha loves to cook it. One day she catches him pouring his soup into his loafer, and she realizes that just because she loves to cook soup, she can't expect George to consume all of it. Martha loves to cook soup. And she needs to find a way to give that gift to those who would like to receive it but not to insist that certain others must receive it whether they want it or not.
People want to offer their gifts. It can be frustrating hunting for an outlet for them. But it's a wonderful thing when giver and receiver match up just so.