Joy in the Labor

summer garden digging

But one doesn’t expect to get out of life what one has already learned that it cannot give, but rather one begins to see more and more clearly that life is only a kind of sowing time, and the harvest is not here.

—Vincent van Gogh

We have moved four times in the last five years. At each house I’ve planted a small garden, and each year, we’ve moved before it flourished. Still, it pleases me to think of others enjoying the fruits of my labors. Recently I drove by our old house. The small pot of bee balm I’d planted in an empty bed had flourished to form a magnificent border.

We spend youth—our spring—anticipating the time when we will realize our dreams. But in adulthood we learn the hard lesson of fruition. Some dreams wilt in the summer heat of responsibilities, burdens, and trials. Some rewards will only be reaped by others. And sometimes we become so preoccupied with the work of life that we don’t realize how much we’ve already achieved.

Be joyful in your work today. We often go on autopilot when we work. Try to be present and aware as you work. Find the joy in your labor.

—Excerpt by Jessica Mesman Griffith from Daily Inspiration for Women


  1. When I was working as a Purchasing Manager (a very high pressure position, involving raw materials and the supervision of 43 buyers), I began deigning and building furniture, using hand tools, primarily.
    There is a peace and, if you will, a comfort in the sound of a very sharp piece of steel cutting a very thin shaving off a piece of wood; the feel of a chisel cutting a shape into another piece of wood; the marking, setting out and cutting of mortise and matching tenon; and the joy, peace and even sense of awe when you assemble the piece and all the pieces fit just the way they’re supposed.
    There is an old quip about work being fascinating and watching it all day. There is a great nobility in manual labor. It is truly marvelous.


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