I’ve often wondered how people do what they do with great enthusiasm and energy. You know the feeling when you watch somebody at work, perhaps a colleague or an employee, who seems to have a happy song in their head. They go about their day seemingly blind to the inconveniences they encounter—the heavy traffic to work, going on overtime for the third time this week, the bickering of other people around them. How do they do it? You wonder how they keep up a sense of calm and bring their joy wherever they go, even in a seemingly stressful workplace. And unknowingly, they inspire others with their work ethics.
I met someone like this a few years back. We didn’t work in the same department but we became really close friends. I think our friendship stemmed a bit from admiration aside from being kindred spirits. I found her very different from the other members of the staff. Well, to put it bluntly, a lot of them drain the life out of other people. They gossip about other employees’ personal lives and pounce on every little mistake anybody commits. They actually gossiped about her too, but she chose the high road.
Aside from her character, I believe she really worked for the love of helping people. She didn’t have a high salary but she did her job to the best of her abilities. She came to work every workday with her bright demeanor and gives her clients the treatment they need. Also, she worked with love. And what is it then to work with love?
Gibran, in his book, The Prophet, describes eloquently;
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
By work I don’t mean just a job. I mean any kind of task that requires effort or focus. Working with love means using our abilities to do a task as if we are doing it for someone we love.
It has been years since I first read Gibran’s words but his sentiments stayed with me. As a homemaker, I attempt to do each chore with love. I look at it as something I do to express my love for my family, even if it’s just folding their clothes or mopping the kitchen floor.
I think in our daily lives it is important to work for and with love. Let’s work not for the love of money or recognition but simply because we love what we do. I write because I love to write. Writing is my soul expressing itself in words. It is like taking a breath of fresh air when I’m drowning in the daily grind.
When go with our passions, I think it’s less likely that we’ll regret a lot in our lives. As my favorite author, Martha Beck’s quips, “Learn to lean loveward.” I think in life and in our work, love is the way to go.