Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hard Work

October 27, 2008

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not man…it is the Lord you are serving. Colossians 3:23

Dr. Feelgood and I were invited for a weekend away. It was refreshing to sit by the sea and read, and to walk along the pounding surf under a starry sky. We worked at our golf game, trying to correct that annoying, recurring, swing flaw, and we gladly worked for our dinner, cracking giant crab claws and peeling fresh-caught shrimp.

Now, there is work….and then there is work. Working to get the succulent meat out of a crab claw yields instant gratification. And the process is fun – sitting around the table with garden tool utensils, laughing at each other, sharing a meal that tasted oh-so fine. No one minds working for such reward. However, the golf work does not yield such quick return for the effort. After two days of repeating errors, on my to-do list is to schedule a lesson – or a series of lessons. And then I will need to practice and practice. Golf is work. Up to this point, it has been fun to get out in nature, to be with people I love, and just to hope I can move the ball forward without holding up play (a major annoyance to men). But I am getting tired of a lingering high score and working at it is the only thing that will bring it down.

Last week, I went back to visit Whitefield Academy where I worked before Megan became ill. Work was a joy for me, probably not a passion, but a meaningful experience where I learned so much and grew in my faith. I loved going there daily and working with creative, caring colleagues. I had projects to accomplish and worked hard to see them through. I was challenged and rewarded. Rewarded with an income, yes, but rewarded by feeling that what I was doing had meaning and purpose in the lives of others. My work, like the crab claws, made me feel good.

Megan loved her work. She poured her short time as a teacher into creative lessons in her classroom. She used a lot of her own money for snacks and special activities. Once she made a birthday cake for her student and delivered it to her home because she was sick. She was passionate about the little lives she was touching and had wonderful, lively stories about so many of them. But she also worked at her friendships, her family, and her faith. She was always busy - joyfully working at her work, and loving the process. Even the day after she died, September 13th, she was busy being honored as a bridesmaid - all the way from Heaven!

So what exactly is work? Is it just what we do for money? Is it what we do with our time to yield some kind of reward? Is it what we have to do when we are not having fun? Is work a passion of our heart’s dreams or is work an effort to simply accomplish a task? Maybe the task is not the Monday To-Do List, or of our own choosing, but rather a way of life – like working through a series of Chemo treatments, or working to live with a chronic disease or disability. Maybe work is the task of forgiveness or loving someone unconditionally. Maybe work is grieving a loss.

Right now I do not like my job – this work that I did not choose. Grieving is hard. It hurts. There is no consistency in the process. I WANT LIFE THE WAY IT WAS! I want Megan to call me on the phone for our daily chat about nothing. I want her to snatch Dr. Feelgood’s wallet and make him play the wallet game where she takes out a card and he has to ask which one she took. I want her to take a road trip to visit Blair on her birthday this week or make Owen some brownies. I want something that I cannot have ever again in this life – something I loved.

And so we must work at accepting this loss - the grief process. We are finding our way day by day - it is called stumbling and just allowing the tears to fall – often at surprising times. Time with the Lord in the morning is what comforts and teaches and provides a sense of assurance in the midst of great sadness. To be able to rise every day and read verses from scripture gives me strength to move through the next 24 hours and then I start again. It is enough. God alone is enough. Here are just a few:

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not man…it is the Lord you are serving.

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and train you in the way you shall go. I will counsel you with my eye.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

1 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I believe that each of us are all serving the Lord through our work, that he will not only instruct and train, but will watch over us with his eye; I trust that I do not always understand things, but that our path will be directed; I will not lose heart, but will expect renewal day by day, trusting that our troubles are somehow in some unseen way working to some glorious eternity.

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