Pardon me for mixing and mangling myths and Bible stories, but this Labor Day has me thinking about the meaning of work when it’s done specifically and voluntarily for another person. See, Labor Day weekend generally includes my wedding anniversary (# 29 this year), and this particular Labor Day, I did not have to work at the bakery as I have for the past six years.
Wow, at home all day with my Mate! Except my Mate was sick.
So I decided to do some chores on his behalf. To be precise: I decided to load a ratty old tarp with branches and sticks and drag it from the portion of woods he’s been clearing for the past several years over to the site of his next burn pile.
Now, branch-dragging is something I’m on board with. I’ve been helping out on that front for a few years now, usually after windstorms. But lately, my Mate’s standards for “clearing” have gone from branches, to sticks, to TWIGS and CONES, people. Stuff you have to use a rake on.
Lately, this is how my inner monologue has gone when I’m helping out with this chore:
“Are you kidding me? Am we really doing this? Isn’t that tree just going to drop the same number of twigs and cones tomorrow?”
Herculean labor it is not. But Sisyphean? Absolutely. Humph. Grrr. Honestly!
But today, on my almost-anniversary, with my sweetie in bed sick? I raked the heck out of those twigs and cones. I even started pulling up blackberry vines–talk about a futile task! And it felt GREAT.
And I started thinking about that Bible story where Jacob works seven years for Rachel (after being tricked by his future father-in-law). I know, the situations are pretty different. But that labor-of-love thing? Yep. I was feeling it. Work done out of love is no longer work.
So Happy Labor Day, everyone. May you find the work that spreads love, whatever form it takes. And then, when you’re ready, may you celebrate with your version of this: