July 8

All work is empty save
where there is love.

Khalil Gibran


Today's Meditation:

Most of us go to work to earn money, pay our bills, have a night out every now and then, try and put some money in savings or investments.  Work for most of us isn't a labor of love, but a means to an end.  Does that mean that all of our work is a waste of time if we don't love it?  I don't know about a waste of time if it is providing us with many of the things that we want, but I don't think that Khalil's use of the word "empty" is synonymous with the idea of wasting time--rather, "empty" means unfulfilling, unrewarding. 

And doing our work with love isn't the same as doing our work that we love.  We don't even have to particularly like our jobs in order to do them with love.  I have done "empty" work, especially when it's been busy work that's served no real purpose (this happened a lot in the Army!), but usually, the gratification that I have or haven't gotten from my work has depended on what I've given it.

The most important questions we can ask ourselves are these:  Could anyone else in the world come in here and do this work exactly how I do it? and Am I staying focused on doing my absolute best and turning this work into a personal triumph, or am I just getting by until the end of the day when I can clock out?

If we're doing our very best and contributing our unique abilities and perspectives, we can be sure that we're not doing empty work, no matter how others may react.  I've seen people who turn their jobs at Wal Mart into a chance to brighten the days of the customers with cheerful greetings and compliments and encouragement for the kids, and I've seen gloomy Wal Mart associates that I don't even want to go near because it looks like they'll get angry at me.  Which ones are doing the empty work, and which are doing work that's fulfilling to them?

The bottom line is that work is empty if we don't bring love to it.  Work is fulfilling if we bring love to it, whether it's work in our gardens or at our place of employment.  How we bring love is up to us, and it depends upon our gifts and abilities.  But bring it we must, if our work is to mean anything to us, to the people we work with, to the people we work for, and to the people we serve with our work.

Questions to consider:

What does it mean to you to show love at whatever type of work you're doing?

Why do so many people separate concepts like love and work in their minds and in their lives? 

List three ways that you might be able to do your work with more love. 

For further thought:

The beauty of work depends upon the way we meet it, whether we
arm ourselves each morning to attack it as an enemy that must be
vanquished before night comes--or whether we open our eyes with
the sunrise to welcome it as an approaching friend who will keep
us delightful company and who will make us feel at evening
that the day was well worth its fatigue.

Lucy Larcom


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