I recently picked up a favourite old book of mine called “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. I was sitting on the subway during one of my regular work day commutes as I read the words;
“And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.
And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
Work is love made visible. “
Not long after reading this, I rushed to catch the bus and was greeted with a huge “Good morning, How are you today!??” The bus driver was wearing a Santa hat and sun glasses, an unusual combination. Not only did he greet me in his booming voice, but he greeted every single passenger that entered the bus:
“You made it, you win first prize today!”
“How’s life today?”
Some people scurried past quickly, too sleepy to notice that another human being had just tried to make contact with them. Others looked up and smiled. Some even laughed.
As I sat watching my fellow passengers, I too noticed something different. For the first time, some of the morning commuters were awake. They had emerged from the commuting slumber (that state that commuters go to in order to get through the sometimes interminable journey… generally a place of inner rumination and fatigue, or electronic distraction). In fact, this time, my fellow passengers were looking around at each other and smiling. This was a true miracle!
Isn’t it amazing that this one bus driver could have such an impact!? How many people were starting their day a little bit differently as a result? Work is indeed love made visible. There it was! Imagine if he had yelled at each person instead? How would their days have unfolded? Perhaps quite differently. Perhaps an entire sequence of events would have transpired differently in each person’s life. We could even say that the world is a different place today because that one bus driver decided to do his work with love.
It was such a potent reminder of how our simple presence, no matter where we are and what we do, can make a difference in the world. We can engage in life with energy, enthusiasm, and care, and in doing so, know that our light will brighten the lives of those around us. Alternatively, we can drag our feet through the day, waiting for our next vacation, an escape from the boredom that we are co-creating.
My grandmother always tells me that my great grandmother used to say, “We need to make our own fun. Don’t expect anyone to do it for you!”. This is one of many wise things she has shared.
Hope you all are having a wonderful return to work this new year!