'Are we there yet?'
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
My husband is fond of asking, "Is it the weekend yet?" Some weeks he asks me this on Tuesday or Wednesday, other weeks it begins on Thursday. By Friday, he starts saying, "It feels like the weekend." I know he's joking, but I realize it's important to enjoy each day in a balanced way love work, love play and to challenge the assertion that we must first suffer to some extent in order to earn happiness.
No one needs to earn joy or love or peace of mind. These are gifts from a loving God. He wants you to have them. Don't put them away until you feel you deserve them. Then you may never open them. And gifts are meant to be appreciated.
I'm not suggesting that you or I stop doing our respective jobs. But let's stop toiling. Every task can be a challenge, and we can run to meet every dread with confidence that God is "a very present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1).
Phooey on the idea that suffering is God's will. Did any loving mother or father wish his or her child to live a life that has happiness only on certain days or in certain circumstances? Remember that God is our divine parent, Father and Mother.
I know a man who does gardening and landscaping for a living and is a gifted musician. When I think of his day job, I like to think of him as an artist of natural science.
The large institution where he works is dedicated to providing a spiritual environment for anyone working, visiting, or living at this facility. Whenever I visit, I see small and large projects he has done that appear so effortless, so natural. But I also see the care, thought, and prayer that must have gone into this labor of love.
My friend has never seemed burdened by this daily duty. He quietly and humbly does his "job" with such joy that I never think, "Gee, I wish Robert could just compose and play his music all day long." I see his expression of joy in his day job, and I always enjoy hearing him share his music when I visit his family in the evening. The two just blend together.
His day is not a sighing day but a day of diverse opportunities to give to others. Although he literally tills the soil, it's not a burden.
At one point in my career, I did what many would consider menial duties. I opened mail and filed microfilmed member records into a large mechanical file storage system. It was one of those invisible jobs that needs doing, but no one really notices you or appreciates the care with which you perform your duties. I thought of myself as an undercover "CIA" employee, CIA standing for Christ in Action. Christ in Action was my way of remembering the example Christ Jesus gave when he healed and helped others in his ministry.
Could I see any activity as an opportunity to give comfort and express love? Even each of the microfilmed member record files, no larger than an index card, could be treated as if it were the very person it represented, not just a cold object of data storage.
I went home satisfied at being an instrument of God's loving pleasure. It would have surprised me if you said that my only true employment in life was to express joy. That sounds too good to be true, but it is true. Some days I had to work harder at being happy more than other days, but I was happy.
As a kid, I remember sitting in the back of the family station wagon, traveling to a vacation spot. "Are we there yet?" was the familiar refrain of my brothers, my sister, and me. "Are we there yet?" is not unlike, "Is it the weekend yet?" But pure joy reaches us no matter where we are or what we are facing, or what our duties are. We are there in God's loving care, and we can rejoice as Paul did in the Bible, when he declared, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift" (II Cor. 9:15).
To those leaning on
the sustaining infinite,
to-day is big with blessings.
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)