Monday, June 8, 2009
Faced with a list of chores, none of which inspires enthusiasm, one can wonder how any will get done. It is not the jobs themselves that is the problem. Even time is usually not the problem. It is a matter of will. We often find that once we've begun one of these irksome tasks, we settle into a contented rhythm of movement that leads us to the completion of a mild unpleasantness. The old adage, "once begun, half done" is a terse truth. Even when we feel the real obstacle is fatigue, it is more often ennui that is dispersed with a sincere beginning. What we often cannot see at the outset is the heightened enjoyment and satisfaction we experience at the completion: an onerous job behind us and a pleasure in surveying our labor. The more distasteful or monumental the hurdle, the more often we find ourselves returning to overview results and give ourselves credit for persevering. Work gives us dignity. Challenging work gives us a rightful pride. A completed manuscript, a scoured bathroom, a purged closet, clean gutters, whatever it is that we shun but do, strengthens us. We grow in virtue each time we say yes to the labor; we grow in holiness when we say yes without grumbling.