Inside the processing.

Paul does design work in the housing industry. Someone else works with customers who want cabinets. Those dreams and dimensions come to Paul. He takes spaces and figures out how cabinets will fit in them.

A new guy is sitting with him these days. He’s learning how to do this work, too. Paul said, “Part of my work happens inside my head, as I look and plan and adjust the drawings in my head. But then I realize that the new guy can’t see in my head.”

Paul has to explain the processing to the new guy. Not just the process. The processing. How Paul looks at a situation and his experience with design and with installation and with the product and with the customer and brings them together.

It’s hard to explain this. But the better Paul explains, the more successful the new guy will be at understanding that processing is necessary. That this work takes reflection. That what happens when the fingers are off the keyboard is as important as what happens when they are entering dimensions.

Paul gets this.

So did, I think, another Paul who reminded his apprentice Timothy that Paul had lived his life in a transparent way. Timothy got to see the work and the teaching and the struggles and the testing and the wrong and right responses.

The risk with lots of people who talk about following Jesus is that we don’t do a very good job of explaining the inside part. We focus on the actions which are easy to measure and criticize. We don’t explain how we process.

But maybe I could say more often, “I’m not sure how these two pieces fit together.” Or “I’ve been working on understanding this for a couple months, what do you think?”

You think?

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

2 thoughts on “Inside the processing.

  1. This is challenging for this “feeler” who makes decisions more by gut feel than process. Sometimes I use this as an excuse because I am intimidated by the thought of explaining a process I don’t completely understand. But that’s the point, it’s about humility and connection and growth and continually learning.
    thanks Jon

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  2. I had this conversation a million times with students.

    “Please show your work”

    “I did it in my head.”

    “I know, but I can’t see inside your head. I need to know how you thought through the problem, the thinking behind your eventual solution.”

    “But explaining how I solved the problem is harder than solving the problem.”

    “I know. but it’s the part that matters.”

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