(This journal entry came in portion from some email sent to me many moons ago.  The postscript is mine).

Once upon a time, an elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.  He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire.  They could get by.  The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work.  He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials.

It was an unfortunate way to end his career.  When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This  is your house," he said, "my gift to you."

What a shock!  What a shame!  If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.  Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us.  We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built.  If we had  realized that we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter.  Think about your house.  Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall.  Build wisely.

It is the only life you will ever build.  Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity.

The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project."

Who could say it more clearly?  Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past.  Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

After reading this email, the carpenter decided to sell the house.  He told his wife and extended family that he had made a drastic mistake many years ago.  He thanked them for the wonderful and not so wonderful times they had had together, and bid them farewell.  His wife was relieved as she could finally stop hiding her illicit affair with her suitor of many years (he was an asian gentleman of generous proportion).  Meanwhile, the carpenter used
the money to go on a gay cruise.  On the cruise, he met the man of his dreams.  When they got back to port, they both moved to the Castro and lived happily ever after.

The end.  Sweet dreams!