Doing what I love

At the end of a rather extended dream this morning, someone asked me, “Why are you so cheerful?”

“Because I am doing what I love,” was my immediate response.

What I love I have the blessing to be able to do. This doesn’t mean that it is always easy nor that I do it well. But my love guides what I do and gives me joy.

As I reflected on this, I noted that I didn’t answer that I do what I love. What comes first for me is the love.

I know there are many people stuck in dull, dreary, and onerous work. They at times come to find joy in what they do. They grow accustomed to what some might seem monotonous, tiring, boring, or hard labor. But in some way they begin to find love in what they do.

I remember encountering in the 1990s a woman working in Ross Hall at Iowa State University. She did cleaning as well as waxing the floors of the offices and halls in this building filled with professors with PhDs. I don’t know how much formal education she had, but she had something that many of us over-educated professionals lack. She loved what she did and took great pride in it.

On day, I was in Mary Sawyer’s office which she kindly shared with me when I was teaching a class that semester. The woman came in and explained that she was going to do a deep cleaning and waxing of the floor.

The pride she took in her work was evident. She was not just doing a job; she was making the world a better place.

I feel bad that I don’t know her name, but I see her as one of the many anonymous people who hold our world together by her loving labor.

She loved what she did but even more I think she did what she loved – not merely cleaning and waxing but helping to transform the world and make it beautiful for others.

I think she found joy in doing what she loved.

I pray that I may continue to cherish what I love – the service of God and God’s people – and that I may continue doing it, with joy.

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