One could work for profit... one could work for wages... one could work for the family... one could work for just about any reason at all: but why not work for an abundance of delight! How about working for an influx of passion? Why not work for the hope of wild abandon? Or what about a little bit of work for grace?
Oh, I know the story about grace being free -- but that line is just for getting your attention -- sort of like the old promise of a blue light special in the crowded store... well, you could shuffle off with the other shoppers and buy something of no real use to you -- wow! what a deal! But really, nothing is free: not even the air that you breathe: because you breathe you owe a debt of gratitude at the very least... even more if you're really alive and conscious because you want clean, fresh, air for yourself and for everyone else till the real end of time... So how about getting it in your mind that working for grace could be the way to both come and go?
Where to begin? Here's an idea: start with making a couple of lists! One list with all of your faults and shortcomings: be ruggedly honest: too much of this, too little of that, lacking in confidence, low self-esteem... put it all down on paper... Now, a second list with all of your attributes: forget honesty! Imagine whatever you want! You love public speaking! You never lose your temper (because you gave that up long ago)! You feed the hungry and orgasm daily! Fill up at least one page with this list -- make it real good! Finished? Okay, fold them up: carefully place both in an envelope: to be used as your bookmark because you will now go to a library or a bookstore. You will pick out a biography of Mahatma Gandhi: borrow or buy, whichever. Read it. Read it good and carefully: notice that everytime you open the book you are first touching the bookmark-envelope with your two lists: remember all that you wrote!
Finished again? What did you read? Here's my short list: you read about a skinny -- very homely -- boy afraid of ghosts. You read about a coward. You read about a man filled with self-doubt and even self-hatred. You read about a man who was a terrible failure in his career. You read about a man who left his country -- looking for anyway out of his life story and failures. You read about a man who was so embarrassed by his cowardice that he couldn't run away from visible injustice: who very timidly raised his voice in protest: who was hit by police: who gathered strength to resist: who developed a strategy for the weak to assume power: who negotiated with leaders: who triumphed where no one thought it possible: who took on an Empire with only a bamboo stick, old sandals, and firm, unyielding determination: who liberated a country through active nonviolence: and who loved his goats at the same time. Summary: an ugly, skinny, coward
worked for grace and transformed himself into a hero for the ages...
Now take up your bookmark-envelope. If you too might work for grace, like Gandhi, what might you be able to do with your one, incredibly precious, life? Can you, too, become a hero for the ages? If he were suddenly sitting next to you, he would take your hands into his and look into your eyes, grin his old-man-nearly-toothless-grin, and say,"Anything I did, you could do too! Have faith in God. Love your enemies. And never give up." That pretty much sums up working for grace... now what will be the story of the rest of your life?
P.S. I find that if I personalize what / who it is that I am working for it helps: hence the picture of "Grace" above. Work for her. Build her a world of all the beauty that she deserves: then it is guaranteed: you will be great!
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.