September 7, 2011

a career of love

Although my days (and sometimes nights) are spent in mothering, right now, there are myriad other “careers” that tempt me away. 


Pottery allures; writing (the delicious finity of written words); cooking (perfect melding of the joy of preparation, the beauty of presentation, and the social pleasure of consumption); scholarship ("learning" Aristotle said, "is an ornament in prosperity, ... and a provision in old age.") .... 


Any of these pursuits, limitless in their potential scope, also offer moments of completion.  The pot is fired.  The article published.  The meal is served.  The research exhausted.  


Mothering is a little different.


Mothering is the career of love, more difficult than any other I have tried.  There are ephemeral breaks from effort, as when the children are cared for by grandparents for the evening - or, thank God, the weekend!  The work, however, is uninterrupted:  how to instill in them good eating habits, space for adequate rest, a love of kindness, perseverance, and generosity.  From potty-training to character-training, mothering seldom lets up.


It is tempting to plateau, to settle for good-enough, to grasp for mere survival and forget the heights.  


Sometimes I do.  Sometimes, having neglected my Source,  it's all I have in me.  And sometimes, another traveler spurs me on to remember the heights, again.
And why? For joy, because the mastery of something leads to a greater enjoyment of it. Singers, musicians, painters, writers, athletes and artists of all stripes know this. The harder we work at something, the more we are able to enjoy it. Rembrandt knew it too. Later he would advise, “Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.”  (from "A World Short on Masters" by Russ Ramsey) 
will aim for mastery in this career of love, though plateaus threaten in every direction. Thank God he is my Master, and promises guidance.

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