Look for Rest Somewhere Else, Working Man.

Who knew yesterday's piece, "Do What You Love, And You'll Work Every Day Of Your Life," would resonate with so many of you? I certainly didn't. I'm thankful for the number of messages and emails I've received, and if there's one common theme to those messages, it's this: I once thought another job would give me the joy and validation I needed; I thought it wouldn't feel like work. Guess what? I was wrong.

Thanks for you honesty, all.

Today, allow me to restate yesterday's working premise another way: There isn't a single vocation that can give the human soul what it needs--equilibrium, peace, and rest. 

Sure, there are vocational choices that might make it easier to find soul-rest. (For instance, I'd argue [tweetherder]soul-rest is difficult to find in the vocation of cocaine trafficking.[/tweetherder] Cocaine traffickers, feel free to email your disagreement.) But if vocation or occupation was meant to provide perfect rest and utter joy for the soul, soul-satisfaction would be in short supply. Could the roughneck, the coal miner, the migrant worker find rest and soul-satisfaction in their vocation alone? What about the lawyer grinding out the hours, the police officer under fire, the middle manager at Super-Mega-Mall-Mart? Could any of them find peace and rest solely in their respective careers? Could you.

Modern men have perpetuated a dangerous myth, the myth that the perfect, soul-fulfilling, non-work work is just around the corner. It's a myth that tips too many of us off center, keeps us striving, striving, striving for the next shiny position. Believing the myth, how many of us have hummed our working-man-blues tunes?Here's what the myth peddlers have failed to take into account: work is just that--work. It will never completely satisfy the soul.

Are you looking for that perfect job, that vocational track that feels less like work and more like rest, like soul-satisfaction? Good luck. Maybe you'll be the vocational unicorn frolicking in a field of cotton candy under May showers of Skittles. I doubt it. More likely, you'll be like the rest of us; you'll do the next thing you know, the best way you can. Sometimes you'll love it. Sometimes you'll hate it. Most of the time, though, you'll struggle under the stress of your chosen occupation.

That's what it means to be a working man.

It's okay to be a working man.

[tweetherder]Look for your soul rest somewhere else, working man.[/tweetherder]

 

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A Tiny Explanation (On Politics and the Soul)

"What I have learned over this last year is that the state of our politics is about the state of our souls. Politics is causing great spiritual harm in Americans lives because Americans are going to politics to have their spiritual needs met. This is the meaning of rising polarization. This is the cause of politics’ burdens on our spirit. Politics does a very poor job of meeting spiritual needs, but politicians will pretend they can do it if it will get your vote." ~Michael Wear

 

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The Old Man

Each week, I try to bring at least one piece of poetry to the table. Sure, poetry might not be your bag, but poetry is the full-body workout for the avid writer or reader. It hits you where you're weak, builds up mental muscle. Poetry stretches us in word economy, metaphor, and abstract thought. In that way, poetry makes us more complete readers and better writers. Today's poem, "The Old Man," is a reflection on seeing. Enjoy.

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"The Old Man"

Among the mysteries of seeing, of knowing and being known, two are most unfathomable, most improbable, most true: how aged eyes feel youthful without the mirror's reflection; how the soul remains unknown without hushed prayer.

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In this month's Tiny Letter (my monthly newsletter), I'm discussing the idea of resting within church practices. There, I'm speaking candidly about some recent changes in the Haines' household, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Sign up to read along!

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