Sunday, November 21, 2010

The benefits of work...

Hephaestos is the god of work. In his manifestation to the Greeks as a Smith, he places himself in a position to be a God of hard, harsh, and often painful work. He works at a trade that is capable of producing much beauty, utility, and protection. He can make a sword for the heroic soldier, or a shield for the heavenly lady of battles, or inlay into metal the most astonishingly beautiful of designs, but in doing so he may also hurt himself. His pained hands, his burned forearms, his bent back as he works tirelessly to create as if from the very fires of creation, that which he must.


We all experience this kind of thing. We all go to work and bring to our minds and bodies stresses that, unfortunately, can also harm us tremendously even as we seek to create or serve. In Hephaestos we have the spirit that allows us this, to dedicate ourselves to a task and be happy, or do one grudgingly and be miserable. We get to choose.


As I was working yesterday, a job with which I have a love/hate relationship for sure, I noticed something important, and which now prompts me to ponder this further, and that is that the same job, doing the same thing, with the same obnoxious clientele, can be both pleasant or miserable all at the same time, and that it isn't the job that decides that, it's me. By bringing to bear a certain mindset, by running that internal program that slows me down and makes me think most clearly, I make the job enjoyable. I do it.


And so it is that today I am hoping to dedicate myself to training my mind to do that, to bring the spirit of Hephaestos into my heart as I toil away and give myself over not to the misery of it, but to the surprising pleasure that having something to do everyday can bring, and while I would still rather be home writing a blog entry or playing Angry Birds, I can take solace in knowing that what I am doing is allowing me to work my way through life rather than depending on others.

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