Monday, September 10, 2012

A Thought on a Profession

I love my job.

No, really. I do.

I have the incredible bounty of making jewelry and artwork for a vocation, and then selling it to people who seem to appreciate it. (I only figure they appreciate it because they generally smile as they give me money.) It is so much fun and such a delightful way to spend my time that I often confuse the concepts of vocation and vacation.

As you can imagine, dear Reader, I didn't just happen to think about this as I woke up this morning. No. I was reading some of the Writings, specifically paragraph 33 in the Kitab-i-Aqdas (actually, the nearly identical paragraph in Tablets of Baha'u'llah, but it looks more impressive when I quote the Aqdas) when some thoughts on work came to mind.

The paragraph in question, in case you're wondering, is:

O people of Baha! It is incumbent upon each one of you to engage in some occupation -- such as a craft, a trade or the like. We have exalted your engagement in such work to the rank of worship of the one true God. Reflect, O people, on the grace and blessings of your Lord, and yield Him thanks at eventide and dawn. Waste not your hours in idleness and sloth, but occupy yourselves with what will profit you and others. Thus hath it been decreed in this Tablet from whose horizon hath shone the day-star of wisdom and utterance. The most despised of men in the sight of God are they who sit and beg. Hold ye fast unto the cord of means and place your trust in God, the Provider of all means.

This is a very interesting paragraph in that it comes just after the command to go on Pilgrimage, and right before the prohibition on the kissing of hands. It is as if you read that you have to make your way to the Holy Land for a length of time and ask God "How am I going to pay for it?" Well, here you go. Get a job.

And then you are there, in the Holy Land, meeting these most saintly of all people, and you are then reminded not to kiss their hands. (I wonder if the spouses of the Hands of the Cause were allowed to kiss the Hands. I mean, it does say, "The kissing of hands hath been forbidden in the Book.")

Again, in the Hidden Words, He also tells us of the importance of working:

Ye are the trees of My garden; ye must give forth goodly and wondrous fruits, that ye yourselves and others may profit therefrom. Thus it is incumbent on every one to engage in crafts and professions, for therein lies the secret of wealth, O men of understanding! For results depend upon means, and the grace of God shall be all-sufficient unto you. Trees that yield no fruit have been and will ever be for the fire.

I was wondering, as I was heading into work today, why this would be the case. I mean, yeah, I know it's important to contribute to the betterment of the world, and all that, but why else?

It seems to me, when I look at my own life, can be seen like a house. My work, in that case, is like the frame. It gives shape and structure to my life. It may not be the most important thing in my life, but it is important and does have a place. My entire life schedule seems to be built around my work schedule.

Now, as a married man, as opposed to life before marriage, it revolves around my own work schedule, as well as Marielle's, and even Shoghi's school schedule, which is like his work. The image that comes to mind is that of a simple square frame on my own, and then a reinforced x-frame in married life. It gives a new image to me of that "fortress for well-being and salvation".

If my work life is the frame, then I think my family is like the roof. It is my family that helps give me shelter, and protects me. The walls are like my friends, surrounding me, enabling me to better appreciate the beauty that I include in my life, kind of like art hanging on those walls. After all, it is with my friends that I enjoy most of the pleasures in my life, like the sharing of books, movies, art, recreation, and so forth.

It is also the background structure of my life, like my work, that enables me to best appreciate the time I have with those same friends.

And last, but definitely not least, is the very foundation of that house. This, to me, is the result of my immersion in the Writings. "Truthfulness", after all, "is the foundation of all human virtues."

Now I should go back to "work".

1 comment:

  1. I like your perspective as usual, Mead!

    Another reason to work:

    "To engage in some profession is highly commendable, for when occupied with work one is less likely to dwell on the unpleasant aspects of life." (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 175)