Naturally, as long as we attach the word ”Glory” to the word “Work”, the latter will always be something wonderful. If work becomes divorced from any glorious aspect or nature, it may well become something terrible, like the work of destructiveness.

But what is “work”? It certainly includes doing things with our hands, or with the help of machines, like bulldozers, toasters, cars, etc. We build all kinds of things, large and small, beautiful and less so. But is sleeping also work? After all, while you slumber, your lungs, heart and other systems and organs, keep on working. And I would like to suddenly interject and suggest that truly listening to someone with all of your attention and heart is also work! I’ll come back to that.

Am I getting off topic? Is work physical? Mental? Both? Anything that is glorious by nature, to stay true to our theme, is “work”? Can our definition of work be so clear cut? Or is it very broad? I think it is.

One thing we can be clear about: work has a result, it accomplishes something. And we are always working. On something. Glorious work is desirable, exciting and even surprising, like Ludwig von Beethoven when he finished his Ninth Symphony by decidedly ending those “bad notes” and introducing a grand vision of peace and brotherhood. That now famous melody has even become the European Union’s anthem, and is popular worldwide! Now, that was hard work by our Ludwig!

To keep this all at the human level, I will not consider here all the work done by machines, no matter how glorious that can be as well, like city heat, water works, electricity in your home and business, train tracks, gasoline pumps, automobile engines, home appliances, power tools, and you-name-it. An endless list. It’s glorious that we humans created all these “helpers” and places of comfort.

So, again, what is the “glory” of work? To me it simply is the cause and effort behind an effect; and that effect can be of many natures, like desirable, delicious, beautiful, ecstatic, exciting, surprising, heartwarming, tears or goosebumps causing, and fill-in-the-blank here. It can be anything from a deliciously cooked meal to a finished Rembrandt or Renoir.

What is then the definition of “glory”? While an evil dictator may boast about the glory of his rule, again, this is not what I like to dwell on. It’s not what you and I have in mind here. To us glorious means wonderful, amiable, desirable, peaceful, joyful, and yes, above all, loving and kind.

When I tell someone “I love you!”, is that work? It may take the work of courage of a person in love to say so to another! It’s way more than what can be intellectually analyzed. Since it started in the heart, I would say that yes, this was some kind of work. Very nice work, actually.

We often hear it said: “You need to work on yourself, work on improving and perfecting yourself”, so that must also be work, not just physical principles involved to get a result, like me walking, talking, driving, using my hands, helping people, etc, but mental and psychological work; that is, work of the heart. Going against and going over the limits of the human ego is definitely work! Glorious work!

Do you think I am drifting off topic? Or am I getting closer to the essence of what the glory of work is really all about? Or at least ought to be all about?

In all my articles I always come back to the basic need for, desire for and the beauty of unconditional love. For me to become unconditionally loving towards all people, nature and creation, I have to work on myself, by watching my heart, my reactions, my judgments, my prejudices, my upbringing, my indoctrinations, my falsehoods; in other words, I have to become so much larger than my ego. That I would like to label “the glory of work” actually, because it will bring me to a higher level of love and make me a better human being. Lao Tzu (6th or 4th – 5th century BCE?) wisely said:

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

It takes work to create one’s destiny. So, while I classify thought definitely also as work, and actually as the most important work one can do, because all of our actions and work start in the heart and world of thought, wouldn’t it be nice if our thoughts are like prayers for goodness, kindness, unconditional love, peace, happiness and prosperity for everyone?

As the risk of going on a side tangent, I hinted above at the importance of truly listening to one another. It’s quite disheartening when you pour yourself out to a person who is constantly distracted and doesn’t truly hear you. To truly hear someone you need more than ears. You need love in your heart for that person, and treat that person as if he or she were the only one in the universe who matters at that moment. A total focus! Often, I do not experience this when I talk to actually scatterbrained people and I catch myself also lacking in this regard. We are multitasking but getting nothing done in such cases.

My father used to say that when Abraham was in a hurry, he would pray twice as long. Yes, taking more time and giving someone time is mental work; it takes work to suspend all other work and thoughts. By not doing any other work you are doing the most important work. Recently, a person in a YouTube video said that if mankind were to truly, truly listen to one another, the glorious work of creating peace on earth could be easily accomplished. The willingness to put everything on the table, and digest it with love, also with compromises even, with a heart of embracing, then the work of making unconditional love work in practice, becomes a reality. That is the glory of the work of truly listening!

The popular saying that actions speak louder than words obviously also applies to our topic today. And it ties in with another wisdom that “by their fruits you shall know them”. From the moment of birth, all of our life is dictated by work: eating, sleeping, dressing up, walking, biking, going to school, learning, doing homework, sports, practicing a musical instrument, dancing or ballet lessons, pursuing hobbies, finally graduating, having a job, driving, falling in love and romancing someone, getting married, having and raising kids, and finally retiring and for many, enjoying your grandchildren. Or some variation of this process, with its ups and downs. We learn by doing. A baby learns how to walk by imitating parents and making the natural effort to do so. All of life is a grand lesson, fed by the glory of work we do naturally, as well as by choice, every day.

Yes, many people accomplish many things in life, and we often admire and celebrate that. Famous singers, self-made millionaires, actors, actresses, fashion designers, artists, authors and novelists, architects, musicians, pop singers, and who-have-you. We often idolize or even envy these people. I can congratulate them on their accomplishments, but still like to know if their success has rubbed off on others in the sense of having made a difference in their lives as well. If they have touched the lives of others, then their work is glorious.

Glorious work is something you can carry out with your heart, and that is an eternal value. That is love in action. My wish, my dear readers, is that, based on your personal unique abilities and talents, you simply continue to carry on with your brand of “The Glory of Work” for the benefit of all those you are and come in contact with. May it ever be more and more glorious! Write your own Ode to Work poetry with your life!

Needless to say, as you love and honor yourself, which is always important, as a happy person you do your work with passion, whatever that work is. Mental or physical: all the work you do is done with passion. And passion leads to knowledge and expertise. Work and passion are indeed excellent companions! Lots of people have boring jobs and do it just to survive. Sometimes they just have to, there is no other choice for them, and there is nothing wrong with or shame in that. But how much more glorious it is to love what you do and thrive from it in every way as well. My father used to say to never turn your hobby into a job, but I digress: if you can thrive with your hobby, then by all means, pursue it passionately! That is the glory of work!


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