It seems that so many of my parents’ generation believed working a job meant drudgery and was to be done solely for the purpose of earning money. It seemed that no one liked their job nor did they feel they had a choice to make a change; they felt trapped. That’s the mindset I grew up around (although I think it is still widespread today across generations).
Many moons ago, at the tender age of 15, during a discussion with my father and an uncle, I announced that I would never work a job that I didn’t enjoy, that I wouldn’t do it just for the money. Lest you think that I didn’t realize the need for money to provide even the bare necessities of life, I did. But it simply didn’t make sense to me to do something one did not enjoy and for so many waking hours of one’s life, to boot!
Just like it never made sense to me how God, in the Judea-Christian tradition, could be loving and punishing. Shouldn’t we spend our time being joyful? Helpful? Creative? Evolving? I may not have been a believer in God at the time, but somehow I believed we were meant to be happy (obviously I didn’t learn that from my family of origin 😊).
I realized even then that I might not enjoy every job I would have, but if I didn’t, I would take action to make a change responsibly (i.e., not quit until I had another lined up since yes, I would need the income). My job—my life–was not going to be one of drudgery, of resignation. There had to be more to living than that.
I kept to my word, my commitment to myself, my mindset, and in my career life, I never stayed complacent and resigned to the fact that I had to work a job I didn’t enjoy, that wasn’t meaningful in some way. I took action so that I could work a role that I enjoyed at some level. It included becoming a sole entrepreneur so I could have greater control (power) over my work, time, and creativity (my life) than what was allowed as an employee of a big corporation.
These days I do believe in a higher power and I continue to believe we are meant to be happy. Actually, joy is a natural inner state; sometimes it simply needs to be uncovered.
And, I now know that whatever we do we have a choice at how we look at it and how we practice it. Whether I’m working a job where I am compensated financially, doing volunteer work, or performing necessary chores, I strive to do it with an attitude of gratitude, and of being of service to others, and ultimately to God. In that mindset, I am able to feel closer to Spirit. I can make any area or aspect of daily living sacred by the way in which I approach it. Hey, simply having the physical ability to wash the dishes makes me feel grateful and joyful, bringing me back to God!
“The difference between washing windows and resting in God can be a simple decision: choose the work, and it becomes your spiritual practice. Spraying vinegar and water on the panes, you baptize the glass. Rubbing away the film, ye repent ye of your sins. Polishing the glass, you let in the light. No task is too menial to serve as a path. If you are able to sustain other lives along with your own, then all the better.”
– Barbara Brown Taylor
There is nowhere that I am where God is not. There is nothing that I do where God is not present. God is with me always. May I be aware of The Presence in every precious, joyous moment and activity.