When I was young, I was probably considered poor. I didn’t feel poor, because my parents always made us feel like we had everything we needed. In fact, we did. We never had designer clothes. My mom sewed us most of our clothes until we were in high school. Then we relied on hand-me-downs and whatever ‘cool’ clothes we could buy from babysitting money. We ate well, because we had a couple of cows, a pig or 2 and usually chickens for eggs and meat. My mom grew a huge garden, which kept us in veggies and occupied every Saturday morning with weeding. My dad was a mechanic and he was so proud when he built himself a service truck and a small business. With all this, there were still times that we had bare cupboards and scant meals. I remember the lean times with as much joy, gratitude and contentedness, as I did the times that we had extra money, because we always had a means to improve our situation.
My parents worked hard and taught us the value of a good bit of ‘elbow grease’. They taught us that hard work is not only a means of creating sustenance, it is also a means of great pride. We learned to enjoy our labours, because we were often given chores that we were good at and that we enjoyed. After all, why suffer through chores that you hate, if your sister was willing to trade assignments? There were tasks that we had to do as a family, because it was the only way it would get done. It was the family endeavours I remember so dearly, because we had fun. I remember one fall, digging potatoes before the snow fell. With 60 or more hills in the ground, we would have to spend an entire day digging, drying and storing the spuds. Just before lunch, our efforts to gather the drying potatoes tuned in to a game of hot potato, which quickly evolved into a game or ‘tuber dodge ball’. We pelted each other with the smallest spuds and we all had a good laugh, even though we ended up with an unnecessarily large pot of mashed potatoes for supper that evening.
I wonder when work became something bad, to be avoided? I still love work. Perhaps not as much as I love my morning coffee, but close. I find pleasure in having a fun team with whom to work. I relish the satisfaction of finishing a project. I especially love the feeling of pride, when I do something well. Although it is nice when others notice, I am content to engage in tasks that feed my passion and fill me up. I know in my heart that if I love what I do and I undertake each of my tasks with passion and commitment, any number of things will happen: I will earn a return on my investment of time. I will learn or grow personally. I will give back to society in some useful way. I will inspire others to engage in their work with love and abandon.
The universe is abundant. There is plenty for everyone. The only things that limits this abundance is belief, gratitude and love…Belief in the bountiful nature of our world….Gratitude for all that we have and all that we can do…Love for the work, because work is the culmination of our knowledge, skills and interests. Work is our way of sharing with the world, our greatest gifts. So do what you love or love what you do. It is your surest means of success & fulfillment.