The Joy of Duty
Duty does not have to be dull. Love can make it beautiful and fill it with life. As long as we show lines of division between duty and pleasure in the world of the spirit, we will remain far from God and from His joy.
~A Year with Thomas Merton, Thomas Merton
Do you have to go to work, or do you get to go to work? There’s a difference. It’s subtle, and we don’t always feel it, but there is a difference.
You’ve probably heard it said, “Find something you love to do, and find somebody to pay you for it.” It’s good advice. Not always practical. After all, I love to do a lot of things, but there’s no way I’m going to be able to get people to pay me to watch movies, go fishing, or grill/smoke all day. I know some people probably do those very things for a living, but I’m not going to be one of those in all likelihood.
There are things in life that simply have to be done. What’s more important in life — playing with the kids or household chores? Obviously playing with the kids is more important, but the dishes still have to get done, clothes still need to get washed, and toilets need to be cleaned. These are duties that have to be fulfilled, but that doesn’t mean they have to be joyless endeavors.
In years past, I have always tried to be better about building certain habits in my life, but I haven’t always been good about them. Sometimes, it felt like I was just trying to fulfill some self-imposed duty, and when I started to think about it like that, it wasn’t very long before I gave up on it. But when we find joy in something, it becomes more fulfilling. Yes, we may be busy and stressed about it, but it feels like we are accomplishing something, and that’s important.
So, love what you do. Find joy, even in the boring things that you have to do. When we can do that with the simplest of tasks, we can find more joy in our relationship with God as well. We become more aware of the fact that God is with us, and that only leads to good things.