Showing posts with label work. Show all posts
Showing posts with label work. Show all posts

18 Dec 2017

The Kids are Grown, and Someday's Here: Now What?

My neighbors’ generators hum in the background as I rummage through a pile of work assignments in search of one I can perform without benefit of internet. The power’s out, after an overnight storm. As a freelance writer and researcher, I find the lack of internet access nettlesome. Even cell service is affected today.
It’s quiet as I select the files I can work on. Only a few billable hours in there, but that’s better than nothing. I can work without distractions. The only device at hand is a pen.
As I realize that, it occurs to me that I’ve spent much of my life wishing for days like this. I was sure that if I only had more peace and quiet, less need for structured time, I could…fill in the blank: pray more, study more Scripture, read more devotions, study Church history. I’d go on retreats. I’d have time for more than a morning offering before diving into the day.
I am blessed with children, and grateful for them.  I was blessed to be their “stay-at-home” mom. My husband made that possible. Parenthood never ends once launched, but my kids are now grown. The intense day-to-day five-kids-at-a-time whirlwind is behind me. I distinctly remember thinking in the midst of that whirlwind that someday, things would slow down. Someday, I’d have quiet days to work on other things.
So what am I doing this quiet day? 

6 Apr 2017

Good Works, While There's Time

...St. John of God – “the Waif,” as he is described in one account of his life -- spent the last few years of his life in unstinting service to the destitute, for the love of God. My Laudate app (I do love certain bits of modern technology) advised me this morning of something the saint said:
“Labour without stopping; do all the good work you can while you still have the time.”
Those words startled me, coming as they did after I’d had my morning helping of Twitter and its hashtags. St. John might have been speaking to me. Put the phone down. Stop trying to be clever. There’s work to do.

9 Jun 2015

Conversation With My Guardian Angel

Driving Home from Work.

Suddenly I had such a feeling of appreciation of all the times that I had been protected by my Guardian Angel and Saint Michael the Archangel.  I thought I would give thanks to God. 

Me:  "Z, my Angel, I know how God has allowed you to protect me in the past when I have gone to battle for souls that are lost, and I thank God and you for this gift.  For Z, you know I will go to battle again soon, as God wills it."

Z: "I will be there." 

Me: "I know, and I appreciate that."

Z:  "It is not by your appreciation that I serve." 

21 Aug 2014

No More Striving

No more striving.
Become HIS child. Carl Heinrich Bloch1834 – 1890
No more work.
Strong words,
Commands actually.
The words reverberate in my mind
Over and over,
Like a mantra.
A Divine mantra.
A Holy reminder to let God work in my core self,
Unhindered by my meddling.
This work of transforming
Is a Holy work
I just get in the way

31 Aug 2013

Rediscovering Playful Writing as a Child of God

When I remember that I am a writer, a born writer, not someone pretending to be a writer by wearing a mask, then work becomes play. God gave me a love of books and an artistic gift of writing and drawing. When I simply relax and enjoy life as a child of God, then I can allow Him to work through my fingers and my imagination. Now we create together. It is a joyful experience.
MY FAMILY’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH BOOKS IS A GENERATIONAL BLESSING. My maternal grandfather, uncles and my mother love to read. I in turn love books.In fact, I have always loved books, reading voraciously as a child. I remember walking slowly home from the library with a tall stack of exciting choices, reading my first choice even before I managed to walk through the front door. My mother would cajole me in the summer,
“Well, at least read outside in the fresh air.”

10 Aug 2012

The Dignity of Work

“From the beginning therefore he [man] is called to work. Work is one of the characteristics that distinguish man from the rest of creatures, whose activity for sustaining their lives cannot be called work. Only man is capable of work, and only man works, at the same time by work occupying his existence on earth. Thus work bears a particular mark of man and of humanity, the mark of a person operating within a community of persons. And this mark decides its interior characteristics; in a sense it constitutes its very nature.”

Blessed John Paul wrote these words in his encyclical Laborem Exercens in 1981.

I’ve referred to this encyclical many times in my own writings and in attempting to get at the very nature of who I am as a Catholic woman, wife, mother, author, and teacher. I have found in his words a timeless truth—no surprise there!—and a certain sense of peace as well. Whether I have worked outside of the home out of necessity or out of a desire, balancing work with family always holds it challenges; but also holds its rewards.

Nothing offers a fuller sense of satisfaction than a task well-performed. It doesn’t matter if that task is washing the kitchen floor, finding the best bargains at the grocery store, or guiding a classroom of middle school students towards a lesson’s objective. Inherent in who we are as humans, as Blessed John Paul points out, is the need for a person to contribute to his or her family or neighborhood or culture in a discernable way. This is what separates us from the animals but also is what gives us dignity.

This is a different dignity—or maybe it is best to say it is another level of dignity—than we all have as created beings; that inherent dignity exists whether we “work” a day in our life or not. The presupposition here is our understanding of the dignity of the human being from conception to natural death.

In Laborem Exercens, Blessed John Paul moves past that assumption and explores the value and need for every man to “work” as a way to participate in God’s plan for man on earth and to elevate each day’s work in such a way that it actually becomes divine.

That is an incredible understanding of work—and quite a goal we ought to have as a society.

When we create a culture wherein safety nets become traps, we are denying dignity to each and every person caught in the trap. We are withholding an opportunity for each and every person to participate in God’s plan.

Think about how you felt the last time you finished a project or completed an assignment. I know that when I write a column I may read and re-read it half a dozen times. It feels good. I’ve accomplished something.

When I stand next to my three grown sons and listen to them converse with each other there is a sense of accomplishment that I have as their mother. God gave me a job and I performed it to the best of my abilities.

When my husband finishes a project at work he has a bit of a spring in his step. Dignity exists within that accomplishment. When my college-aged son passes a particularly difficult test he is more animated and more talkative. It has affected him in a good way.

Blessed John Paul goes on to write:

“Even by their secular activity they must assist one another to live holier lives. In this way the world will be permeated by the spirit of Christ and more effectively achieve its purpose in justice, charity and peace... Therefore, by their competence in secular fields and by their personal activity, elevated from within by the grace of Christ, let them work vigorously so that by human labour, technical skill, and civil culture created goods may be perfected according to the design of the Creator and the light of his Word.”

Notice that through work the world will more readily be filled with justice, charity and peace! That makes sense, doesn’t it? If we really step back and think about it, there is an interior sense of dignity that rises up within us when we are productive. Why would we deny that from others? When we all share that vision of work and look for ways to bring that to all, we are creating heaven on earth: we are providing an opportunity for each and every person to feel alive in a way that only work can produce.

When Blessed John Paul includes a long list of work that is established in Scripture you can’t deny God’s call upon each of us regardless of what we do:

“The books of the Old Testament contain many references to human work and to the individual professions exercised by man: for example, the doctor, the pharmacist, the craftsman or artist, the blacksmith—we could apply these words to today's foundry-workers-the potter, the farmer, the scholar, the sailor, the builder, the musician, the shepherd, and the fisherman. The words of praise for the work of women are well known. In his parables on the Kingdom of God Jesus Christ constantly refers to human work: that of the shepherd, the farmer, the doctor, the sower, the householder, the servant, the steward, the fisherman, the merchant, the labourer. He also speaks of the various form of women's work. He compares the apostolate to the manual work of harvesters or fishermen. He refers to the work of scholars too.”

Does this mean that work is all fun and games? No, as further we find in Laborem Exercens, work is always associated with toil. That is part and parcel of the journey we are on. So on the one hand there is a sense of dignity inherent in each of our accomplished tasks, while on the other hand those tasks aren’t accomplished without toil on our part.

I agree.

During the long days of raising three boys who are four years apart in age I wasn’t always sure I was going to make; and for darn sure I wasn’t convinced that I wasn’t failing at it, either.

Studying for his test, my son doesn’t smile and proclaim the joy he is experiencing. No, he perseveres in spite of the obstacles and frustrations.

When my husband is in the midst of a project his hours are long, his nights are sleepless, and his mind is elsewhere.

This isn’t to say we are entitled to a job filled with joy and reward wherein everyday is an excursion to Happyland. Rather, it is to recognize that we are designed by our Creator for work that may be demanding and difficult, it may be boring or strenuous; but whatever it is, it is also an opportunity to unite with God and give glory and honor to His kingdom.

Cheryl Dickow
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