A student just made my day. Standing in line at the Cub’s Pub for my latte, I chatted with the young lady in line behind me. She was buying a macchiato to celebrate that it was almost the weekend.
“Now that’s a positive attitude!” I said, thinking it was only Wednesday. She went on to say that Thursdays are her favorite day.
It’s Thursday! I realized, feeling like I’d been given a prize – a day off work, moving one day closer to freedom. The week’s end.
You see, I don’t live to work. I work to live (actually, to have health insurance, which I suppose it’d be difficult to live without, but that’s another topic).
I like to post my blogs on Wednesdays, so now you understand why I’m late. But the morning’s conversation fit nicely with the things I’ve been mulling over since posting Oswald’s thoughts on usefulness and service last week.
I don’t feel very useful most of the time, especially when I compare my life today to my life before as a global missionary. And fulfilled? That’s not comparing apples to oranges; that’s more like apples to worms.
Have we placed unrealistic emphasis on finding jobs that fulfill us, fitting our gifts with our experience? I think of stay-at-home moms I know, with the awesome privilege of raising children, who feel it’s not enough. Yes, it’s nice when everything in life dovetails, but if I live demanding satisfaction, I’m going to waste most of my days being disappointed. Because life often throws us curve balls. And we may miss the always-present blessings and opportunities that can take some effort to find.
For me, this is all made a little trickier since Steve is retired and I’m not. For a lot of Americans, retirement means a life of leisure, playing golf and trying to come up with things to do to fill the hours (even though those hours pick up speed with age). It feeds our self-inflated idea that we deserve a reward. We’ve earned it.
But for my husband and I, retirement simply means our service changes location and loses some of the rigidity and confinement that comes with a “real” job. As Steve surrenders his agenda to the Lord each day, he may end up building rapport with a neighbor as he seeds the lawn, helping someone move, or taking food to a friend in need (with the added perk of being able to take a longer break at our local coffee shop than I can at my job-away-from-home).
I’ll admit I’m jealous. Often. The repetition of office work (8-5 everyday within the same 4 walls) is a square mold for those of us with creative sensibilities, and it’s hard. But I have a bigger purpose beyond the work I produce. My work is my place of service – for now. Here I get to shine Christ’s light and hopefully make a difference – with my colleagues, with the Cru students, and now with my classmates – as I wait for the day when my place of service becomes my home.