Sunday Firesides: The Weight of Worthy Work

A fireside is a gathering of friends and family around the hearth on winter evenings, typically in an open-air building where there are no screens or windows.

Humans are amusing beings. Especially in our relationship with labor and effort, which is best defined as a perpetual tug of war between attraction and repulsion.

We are hesitant to take on a challenging assignment. Then you’ll be ecstatic when it’s finished. Then you refuse to perform another.

We’re lonely and want to be connected. Then extend your hand to others. Then you’ll chafe at the responsibilities that come with relationships. Then we should try to remove ourselves from it. Then you’ll be lonely once again.

We believe that if we had more time on our hands, we could do a lot more. When we have more time, however, we struggle to get started on anything at all, only to realize that the busier we become, the more productive we become.

We believe we would be so much happier if we didn’t have to work, and we are grateful for any time off. However, if it continues for too long, we will get bored, restless, and even unhappy.

We don’t want to go out and mingle or do a charitable deed, but once we do, we’re always pleased we did.

We like laying down roots on occasion. At other times, we want to flee, relocate, and start anew.

We want to be tethered. We’d want to be set free.

Attraction and repulsion are two opposing forces.

Part of our ambivalence stems from a misperception of the tension that comes with effort.

Responsibilities are seen as burdens, and burdens are seen as bad.

But if we came to see responsibility via Viktor Frankl’s metaphorical lens of the burden architects set atop a structural arch, which links the pieces more solidly together, we may be able to accept it more wholeheartedly.

We are not weighed down by good work, important ambitions, or holy commitments. It prevents us from collapsing.

 

 

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