As the pandemic grinds on we are slowly finding our way to a new world. Masks will be with us for a long time, and we need to accept that the virus is part of us and our society. Perhaps it is even calling on us to re-examine our priorities.
One of those priorities has been the nature of work in our lives. So often – too often – we define our worth by what we do for money. What a sad trick capitalism has played on all of us. The reality, for much of the world, is that your worth is not defined by how you earn your money. I don’t use the phrase “earn a living” anymore. That is another sad commentary on how far capitalism has invaded our lives: as if you had to make money in order to live. For those of us who choose not to work in the formal economy and for those who have given over their lives to the good work of society (as in the many volunteers in our congregation), work is what we do to make meaning and give our lives purpose.
In a recent article Jonathan Malesic wrote: “Pursuing our genius, whether in art or conversation or sparring at a jiu jitsu gym, will awaken us to ‘a higher life than we fell asleep from,’ as Thoreau wrote. It isn’t the sort of leisure, like culinary tourism, that heaps more labor on others. It is leisure that allows us to escape the normal passage of time without traveling a mile. The mornings Thoreau spent standing in his cabin doorway, ‘rapt in a reverie,’ he wrote, ‘were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance.’ Compared with that, he thought, labor alone was time wasted.” (The New York Times 9/26/21)
Our congregation is comprised of many different backgrounds, ethnicities and economic circumstances. I, for one, hope we will be able to re-engage with work not as a measure of our economic value but as a means to support ourselves and one another in a meaningful way. What is your work these days? I would love to hear from you. Just respond to this email.