Sweat cleanses from the inside.
It comes from places a shower will never reach.
“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
― Francis of Assisi
(my grandmother’s old pitchfork / Julie Cook / 2015)
Maybe it was the brilliant bright sun.
The endless deep blue sky.
The tender vibrant new green leaves.
The deafening serenade of the cacophony of birds. . .
Outside was calling. . .
And I had no choice but to heed the call. . .
As I just couldn’t drive, one more day, over to Dad’s.
Yet this was not a day for leisure.
No idyllic lounging under a welcoming shade tree
No whiling away the hours. . .
Sitting idly by, just taking in the day. . .
Nope, there’d none of that. . .
As there was work to be done.
Balancing a hectic life,
Taking care of two households in two different cities. . .
Dreading the three letter name that constantly pops up on my phone,
As in Dad = a crisis. . .
Small or large, a crisis will be brewing
Running here, there and yon
Darting in and out
Dashing from here to there and back again,
4 times a week if not more
Rushing to and from frantic traffic. . .
To and from the unhappy confused
The frustrated caregivers. . .
Loons who loom. . .
Which all leads to a weary, frazzled, beaten mind, body and soul
The best curative you ask,
Other than running away, or something illegal or illicit?
Well for me, it’s always been to head outside. . .
To work in the yard.
Even when I was teaching and raising a family. . .
Having a day, maybe even two, to be outside. . .
Working with my hands. . .
As in really work.
Manual labor sort of work.
The blisters on the hands sort of work.
The nitty, gritty, down and dirty, sweaty sort of work..
Cut all the shrubbery
Weed the weeds
Spread out new pine straw
Rake out beds
Dig up the overgrown
You name it. . .
From sunup to sundown
As in doing it while there is time in the day
Making the most of the light of day, the time we have. . .
For it is good for the soul
Cleansing of the mind
Stretching muscles and joints to the breaking point
Strenuous work, which in the end, results in a visible difference.
A visible and tangible accomplishment
On something with a beginning, perhaps a long forgotten beginning. . .
Maybe a monumental beginning which may appear almost impossible. . .
Something that could possibly take a while, as in ongoing. . .
Or maybe its something as simple as rearranging, replanting, repainting, replacing. . .
Something, that at the end, is going to be different, better, organized, improved. . .
All because I, me, we, you put our hands into it, our mind into it,
our backs into it, our hearts and soul into it. . .
Whereas I, we, me, you can’t always “fix” or solve the issues that come into our lives,
or into the lives of those we love, or even into the lives of those we don’t even know. . .
Those issues that challenge us, engage us, enrage us, frustrate us, try us. . .
And whereas we can’t always make things better for others or ourselves. . .
Because the issues are bigger than ourselves, our abilities, our control. . .
Being able to see, to feel, to experience something that we can change, or fix,
or make better, or make a difference with, or something we can finally meet head on, something that has been waiting for us, possibly for years. . .
It is to such laboring tasks that we can find healing and the need of being cleansed. . .
The clearing of a heavy heart, a cluttered mind, a confused world. . .
It is the satisfaction of knowing that [finally] we tackled it, brought a resolution, made a difference, made a change, made some small corner of our world. . .better.
Be it something seemingly insignificant, tiny and small. . .something not necessarily
Noticed by others, no one other than ourselves. . .
Nonetheless the change being there, is for the positive. . .
It is this sort of honest, simple, often repetitive, work. . .
which can make all the difference in the world in ones
perspective, well-being, thoughts, heart. . .
Providing the incentive to, in turn, meet the ever looming challenges or our lives with more focus,
a better determination, and with the hope we may have initially lost. . .
For in such we find ourselves feeling better about ourselves and in our lot in life in general. . .
So may we never shy from any work that calls for our hands, our backs, our minds and our hearts. . .
May we never look down upon those who make their livelihoods doing the sort of work with their hands and backs that many of us so often take for granted- – –
May we come to understand that the working of hands and backs, the manual labor sort of work, is more often than not some of the most honest, refreshing, rejuvenating, perspective changing, cathartic, satisfying and even edifying work that any of us, who may often lose our way in our journeys,
in this ever instant gratification,
touch of a button, sort of world we find ourselves living. . .
Here’s to the work of our hands. . .
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.