Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Otter and the Workaholic - Guest Post by Sarah

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
*Rule-bound behavior
*High IQ and high level of talent

So I’m soaking up some rays and reading a book on my dock. Suddenly, a splash rips my eyes off the page! I see bulges of sheeny creek-water pop into two wet otters, which scurry up the bank as fast as they can! Then I hear crackly leaves and see one shimmy down the bank 40 feet away and weave up and down in the water, finally diving beneath a mass of water hyacinth. Those two were playing!

I smile and watch that otter as long as I can. How fun! Is that what they do all day? I sometimes wish that were the case for humans… but there are always dishes and laundry and cleaning and yard work and the inevitable paycheck to be earned to pay for one’s keep. Sounds like rather the dull prospect.

But it’s good to work. Who wants to be labeled lazy? Moocher? Captain John Smith instituted that famous rule in Jamestown: “He who does not work does not eat.” I like my food, thank you very much! And I do not want to be a bum.

Work is also rewarding. It really is fulfilling when you succeed and accomplish a task. I love when I’ve raked up a yard, or meticulously crafted a student’s IEP, or created an awesome poster, or developed a “pedagogy-ally brilliant” lesson plan. When something glints in my students’ eyes and I know they got it- that’s the best feeling in the world!

But why have I worked? ‘cause it’s what I went to college to do? Duty? Student success? My paycheck? Pay the rent? Buy stuff? Maybe a mixture of each?

Colossians lays out what a worker’s motives should really be: “work heartily” like we’re doing it for God and not for our bosses. “You are serving the Lord Christ.” “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through Him.” Ouch!

Recently, I met someone whom I hadn’t seen in years. Catching up, I laughed, “I’m kind-of a workaholic.” Why’d I say that? What a description! Do I want to be known as that? Um… no!

But it was true. I was working and busy and… well… not playing. And as you know, all work and no play… yup. A workaholic? That’s bad enough, but I don’t want to be dull, too!

Maybe if I’d had those right motives, I wouldn’t have over-worked myself. It wouldn’t have been so hard. God gives balance if I ask for it, right? Neither lazy nor workaholic, neither dull nor outrageous. Moderation in all things…

Unmoderated, unbalanced, one gets tunnel vision. A person is aimlessly turning that grindstone. But what about the sunshine outside that window of the mill?

I thought of a section of C. S. Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters. If you’ve never read this highly amusing book, it consists of correspondence between a mentor demon Screwtape and his protégé demon Wormwood. In chapter 13, Screwtape berates Wormwood for letting his human charge read an enjoyable book and for letting him relish a walk through the country. These “real” pleasures, Uncle Screwtape said revealed the silliness of the man’s self-pity, and removed “the kind of crust” that the disciple demon had been building up on the man. I like that thought. I don’t want to be crusty either.

In this world we have tasks and jobs to do, duties and responsibilities. We are to do them for God’s glory… but God has also provided a beautiful world full of beautiful places and activities to enjoy. A mix of both work and play is a wonderful thing. Here’s to the balance. Here’s to imitating otters.

How this topic applies to Christian living:

I Corinthians 10:31
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.