Home > food, motherhood, philosophy, spirituality > Work is love made visible

Work is love made visible

I spent the weekend working. So did The Husband.

My friend M and I spent all day Saturday canning tomatoes. I’ve got 14 quarts — enough to get me through most of the winter with one quart a week, holiday weeks excepted. The Husband watched the Child while I canned. He also did all the laundry. With a potty-training child and a barf-prone cat in the house, not to mention a messy cook in the kitchen, doing all the laundry while watching a 2 year old is a non-trivial accomplishment.

Then Sunday I wrote my advertorial and if it was dull, the paycheck that we cash at the end of the week is the difference between beans and rice for dinner one night a week instead of four. The Husband drove to Lincoln to pick up a quartet of chickens from the farm, and on the way home picked up the rest of my tomatoes (they were too hot to transport), plus a five-foot tomato plant that my friend M nursed from root-bound seedling into a hardy monster that towers over The Child.

Canning in the sticky heat that preceeds a tropical storm (Hanna barreled through Saturday afternoon) is a sweat-slick proposition. But I never once wondered why I was bothering. I know that in the middle of a bitter January morning, when I pull out a jar of tomatoes to make a stew for dinner, that my work will be worth it. I know that it’s a small thing, but my daughter will grow up knowing that food is important, that small things are important, that thinking ahead is important. Those are vital values in my mind.

My spirituality is sometimes a nebulous thing. Certainly I’m not a big follower of Kahlil Gibran. But he’s got one thing just right: Work is love made visible. I can’t think of any more visible sign of love — love of my family, of the Earth — than to spend a Saturday in a steamy kitchen so that my husband and my daughter can eat well later in the year. I’m honoring summer and winter and the cows that will die so that I can have chili con carne.

And I figure if you can make chili con carne spiritual, you’re doing something right.

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  1. September 9, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Great post! I grew up with parents who treated work and spirituality as one thing. I remember ethical discussions and moments of prayer in the midst of hoeing tomatoes or canning them, which is indeed hot and sticky work.

    “Work is love made visible” has long been my motto. Fortunately, a lot of people in many types of work have the samme attitude, and it’s my joy to pass on inspiration and resources. Your post will join our archives for the Spirit and Work Resource Center. (Spiritandworkresourcecenter.com). Thanks much, Pat Sullivan, co-founder

  2. September 9, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    I’ve never canned a thing in my life, but you’re making me want to look up how to do it. This post warmed my heart and made my mouth water all at once.

  3. Barb
    October 2, 2008 at 12:14 am

    What a lovely read this was. I thank you.

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