Call me old school, but I am a huge fan of whiteboards. Brainstorming ideas and content in a myriad of colors is one of the favorite components of my job. If the idea doesn’t make sense, we can simply erase it and start fresh. While I should use an eraser, I often come home at night with different colored fingers and hands from the ink. When my son picks up my phone and looks through my photos, he must scroll through a mix of personal photos and whiteboard brainstorm sessions. Sitting in a room of peers that are talking through solutions and approaches that come to life on a whiteboard is my happy place at work.
I found myself in another brainstorming meeting earlier this week. Taking some photos of the session afterwards, I stopped to look the beauty in what others could see as chaos. Arrows, colors, words, cross-sections and sketches of shapes created a masterpiece of thought.
Driving home that night, I was still thinking about the whiteboard approaches my team came up with for the pursuit that we are working on. What is it about the whiteboard that I love so much? Could it be that in some simple way it captures the DNA of how we are created?
A Longing for Community: One thing I am a huge fan of, is seeing the excitement that comes out of my teammates when we are able to interact and brainstorm in person. In a world, where we fall back on Skype calls, video conferencing, email, and text messages, most will agree that the most meaningful connections happen in person. When we are working together as a team of individuals with different strengths and flaws, the ideas get stronger and more exciting.
Seeking Restoration: Who doesn’t love coming up with ideas to make things better? I believe that we are all hard-wired to develop ideas that will help restore things that are broken. Whether you are a janitor that is cleaning things that are dirty, or a software developer finding a better way to do something, we are all working to help restore our world.
The Drive to Create: The organic nature of creating things is beautiful. While my team is creating ideas on a white board that we bring to life in the field of construction, a chef may be developing a recipe for their next meal. In both instances, the creative process by itself is a source of joy.
Embracing the messy: Just like my whiteboard, life is full of messy. The ideal path to restoration is never linear, but the process to get to the destination is what makes life beautiful. While we can appreciate a perfect end-product, the satisfaction and pride in that product will never be the same as it is for the people that created it.
So as I enter my next whiteboard session, I’ll enter it with a humble respect and joy in knowing the activity itself is a reflection of how we can live out our Calling in the simple things.