For the last few years, a chalk-board sign above my kitchen sink reminded me to “Love people. Cook them tasty food.” (Thank you Penzey’s.) Unfortunately, my idea of tasty food differs drastically from my family’s idea of tasty food. The idea of loving people by making them tasty food only made me cranky: I am making tasty food, people! Why aren’t you eating it? Can’t you taste my love??
This past week, the sign came down. I tried erasing away that catchy but not so helpful slogan. In its place I wrote the words I discovered in John O’Donohue’s blessing For Work.
“May the light of your soul bless your work with love and warmth of heart.”
I think this could change everything.
As an aside: I love O’Donohue’s book To Bless the Space Between Us. There is so much love and wisdom contained in its pages. Frederick Buechner describes words as intravenous. “The words you read go directly into the bloodstream and go into it at full strength… The words you read become in the very act of reading them part of who you are.” O’Donohue’s words are like that for me. They wake up my soul, changing its trajectory.
To Bless the Space Between Us has been my regular companion for about two years, but I missed this blessing for work because I mistakenly equated work with something I am paid to do.
It’s also been two years now since I have been paid to do anything. But I work. If I didn’t care for my children or clean my home, we would have to pay someone else to do it. I wouldn’t have to pay anybody to write anything, but I work at that too.
Too many times resentment creeps into the work I do. Work becomes drudgery. I would rather be doing something else. I am annoyed that dinner occurs daily, toys multiply like rabbits on the floor, there is always dirty laundry, and I apparently should be wearing stripes and a whistle. There was a time when this list included a day-job that spilled into an after-the-kids-are-in-bed job. Resentment was a familiar companion. I would rather be…
How would light, soul, blessing, love, and warmth change the way I see what I do? Change the way I do what I do, what I expect, and how I give?
Maybe it starts by seeing my soul’s light.
I am just learning to trust that my soul has light and beauty. That there is a deep and loving “yes” that is inherent within me. (Thank you, Richard Rohr.) I am learning to trust the “deep-down rightness” of this life that God has created for me and in me. (Thank you, Mr. Buechner.)
I am learning to trust the enough-ness of God. The enough-ness of who God made me to be. The enough-ness of where I am at and what I am doing.
I’m noticing a deep-down gladness taking root in my soul.
This deep-down gladness seems to be affecting the way that I approach my work.
With this blessing in mind, I find myself praying “Thank you” as I wash the dishes or fold the laundry or gaze at my kiddos and listen to their thoughts. “Thank you for everything and for nothing in particular. Thank you for the messes and the family that makes them. May they feel love and warmth of heart in this space.”
In these prayers, I find myself changing.
“Spirituality is seeded, germinates, sprouts and blossoms in the mundane. It is to be found and nurtured in the smallest of daily activities.”
~ Thomas Merton