Doing what you love and loving what you do are seen today as the pinnacle of success. Who would not ask for the chance to exist in a way that work is no longer work because there is nothing you would rather be doing? But is there danger there? Don’t be ridiculous, what possible problem could there be with spending your time doing what you enjoy and being paid for it, making a living out of it even?
Well there is much to celebrate about it, I agree. I am fortunate enough to have work that both tops up my bank account and fills my soul with sunshine. But this Easter break I have been wondering if there’s something I have been missing as I recognize that tiredness and fatigue can creep up on even the happiest worker bee if they do nothing but work ceaselessly on making honey.
And that missing ingredient? The people we love. While hell has been described as being “other people” our connections to others are what creates our heaven too. None of us is alone in this world, we all have our loved ones and while we beaver away trying to make them proud of us we may forget the one thing they really want from us that we are holding back; our time. Time that is not for anything nor trying to achieve anything; time that is not designed to celebrate a particular milestone but simply to revel in being alive together at this moment; savouring now.
Easter is a good opportunity to take this time. While its religious significance is arguably greater than Christmas it does not come with all the frills and frolics of Christmas. There are few office Easter parties, no need to fit in a huge shopping trip as a few chocolate eggs bought at the supermarket are enough, no pressure to sign endless cards and get them to the post on time. Plus there is no need to cheer ourselves through those dark days when it feels as if winter may never end, a sense that has proved all too difficult to shake this year with the consistently returning snow storms from the mysterious east.
Easter is the moment we take a chance to celebrate the resurgence of life, seen physically in the proud daffodils trumpeting the arrival of a new season and the light that stays with us for a little longer each day, understood in the festivals of both Passover and Easter as we commemorate liberation from the ultimate dark shadow of death. For me this time of year has also been a time for new entrants to my family. My daughter was born in Easter time and this year we welcomed a new puppy into our homes.
So today I’d like to invite you to join me in celebrating those other people who matter and taking some time to savour those relationships that make the work of our lives a labour of love.
- Children – If we are fortunate enough to have children of our own they can bring a new sense of responsibility and meaning to our lives but they also bring with them a forgotten joy in wonder and play. If we don’t then we can recognize our relationships with other people’s children, grateful we can give them back, or remember that we are essentially large children ourselves Especially today with April Fool’s Day falling on Easter Day it’s worth indulging in some childish fun.
- Partners – In the busy pursuit of our passions the one person who matters most to us can become neglected or forgotten, or worse seen as the obstacle to our personal goals. Dropping our work for a moment we can stop and listen to each other, or spend some time in companionable silence, reconnecting with what brought us together in those early heady days when we fell in love.
- Parents – As we grow older and hopefully wiser, we recognize how difficult life as a grown up can be, how easy it can be to take the wrong path or make a mistake and how difficult to make amends or put things right. This can give us a chance to appreciate our parents, not as the god-like giants who knew everything of our childhood but as the flawed, imperfect humans who kept trying to act out of love and were in fact, quite a lot like us.
- Family – In addition to parents we are often blessed with siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. These are the people who knew us when we were children, at the beginning of our lives. They have been the witnesses to the various stages we have grown through, stay with us whether our hearts are full or broken, care little for our status outside the walls of the family and remind us where our roots are hidden.
- Friends – Friendships can come in all shapes and sizes. Some are meant to last and feel like the family we found for ourselves, others are part of our tribe who love the same things we do, yet others are fleeting affairs that touched our hearts but did not stand the test of time and individual ambition. Each of these can be enjoyed for the extra love, light and laughter they bring into our lives.
- Pets – Not strictly people I know, but they are so individual I believe they have earned their place. Besides, I have particular pleasure in celebrating pets this year. Out of the sadness of the loss of my cats has come our new puppy, who has been chasing his tail and falling over himself for most of the time I’ve been writing this. His love is abundant, unquestioning and unconditional. He makes me laugh and I am glad to have him around.
Whatever your personal circumstances find an opportunity to recognize the love other people shine into your heart and your life at this time of year when we celebrate the return of light to a world that had been shrouded in darkness. The love we share ignites us and makes us work to be more tomorrow than we are today so we can better serve love. And there our success resides, the work of our lives not just being doing what we love but in doing whatever Love asks of us, making of us lights shining into the darkness for all eternity.