The Huge & Holy Space of Our Humanity
Here in America, there's a precarious relationship between our work and our sense of self.
Easily, our understanding of who we are shrinks down to a title, a desk, a business card. And if something goes haywire in our work, something, too, goes haywire in our sense of self. The two are so interwoven as to be impossible to disentangle.
So, to avert this unhealthy intermingling, there's a question I've found to be helpful:
If everything in my work fell apart tomorrow, would I still find my life meaningful?
In other words, have I invested in the parts of my day that have nothing to do with my job?
Morning moments with partner, child, parent. Those sweet, short exchanges with neighbors, baristas, fellow dog-walkers that make us feel we belong and are a part. Time with that poem we're writing, garden we're planting, boat we're building for no other reason than we feel called to. Phone calls and love notes to friends in far-off places.
These are the pieces that expand our sense of self out beyond the confines of our job to the huge and holy space of our humanity.
If our work was pulled out from under us, these pieces are what would be left of our life. And if we do it right - if we invest regularly, generously - it will be more than enough.