Monday, September 6, 2010

Labour and Gratitude

Barbara: Today is Labour Day so maybe that's why I suddenly found myself wanting to acknowledge the myriad things that we work at each day.

I am a hard-worker by nature. I truly love having some kind of purposeful work to occupy me (and right now, my favourite by far is writing). Don’t get me wrong—I’m also a Class A relaxer, but only when I “deserve” it. The problem is, I do have a bit of mean-streak when it comes to hard work. If I do something that is to the obvious benefit of others (a communal project or a closet cleaned), I’ll admit it, I expect some kind of acknowledgement at the least and gratitude at the best. Choirs singing and light radiating would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, the paroxysms of emotional stress I’ve put myself through if something I’d laboured over didn’t get the reaction I thought it deserved. The hours creating, editing, schlepping, sweating, cleaning, caring, finagling, organizing, listening, advising, workingworkingworking, without gratitude felt like they’d disappeared into some kind of black hole (if no one said thank you, did it actually happen?). I’ve tried to get over it, I really have. Craving gratitude is not something I believe is particularly righteous. After all, fundamentally I’m not working for others, I’m working for myself. Right? Right.

Even though I’ve gotten a lot better over the years, gratitude is still my Achilles Heal. So I’d like to take this holiday to acknowledge labour in all its glory.

Thanks to all you parents for your hours of invisible chores. Thanks to you children for growing up no matter how well or badly we do them. Thanks to those of you who put your life on the line to keep us safe. Thanks for teaching us, caring for us, researching for us, developing for us, managing, marketing, creating for us. Thanks to those of you who make the things we use everyday, and those things we might use one day in the future. Thanks to everyone for being part of a bigger picture. Thanks for being brave in millions of seemingly inconsequential ways every day. Thanks for all your efforts, whatever they may be, that help keep this world ticking and talking, humming and developing, changing and growing, fundamentally keeping us all connected through strands of interconnected work.

Closer to home, thanks for reading this blog, for commenting, entertaining, participating, considering (and thanks to all you patient readers who’ve tried repeatedly to post comments that haven’t stuck—this seems to happen quite a bit and we can’t figure out why!!). Thanks for writing your own brilliant blogs and sharing your lives and feelings with us with such honesty. It’s a blog world here and, without you and your efforts, it would be a Love’s Labour Lost. Instead it is a labour of love.

Happy Labour Day, everyone! Now get back to work.

Deb: Could not have said it better myself. And didn’t. So a final thanks to Barb. And on a related note, 20 years ago I spent Labour Day, in labour and had a beautiful boy on September 3rd, 1990, for which I am eternally grateful. His birthday has only fallen on Labour day twice since then, but in 1990, Labour Day took on a whole new meaning. 


  1. I really love this post. And it is definitely not Love's Labour Lost as far as the two of you are concerned.
    Happy Labour Day, Deb and Barbara.

    And that is an awesome Labour day story, Deb.

  2. Thanks Rayna, He came into the world with a singular sense of irony that boy.

  3. And, Deb, I just want to add that a labour of love has rarely been so successful as the beautiful work of your dear boy. He is a masterpiece, nothing less. Sweet, kind, generous, caring, loving, brave, and creatively fierce. Kudos!

  4. It's so true! A bit of acknowledgment and gratitude can go a long way with people like us. With or without the singing choirs.

    So thanks to you both for this great blog.

  5. I just started a new job 4 weeks and I finally get a day off,and it just happens to fall on Labour Day,thank god. Anyway, Just wanted to say Happy Labour to everyone.

  6. LOL Lyndsie! I was thinking the same thing this morning! I recently started a new job, too. I was thinking, "Wow, Labor Day actually means something to me today. I am soooo grateful to have this job."

    Deb, your Labor Day story is the sweetest, yet. :) Bigtime awwwwwwwwwwww moment!

    Barbara - I am saying it to you: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Thank you for being an encourager (you are SUCH a sincere cheerleader from the heart!). Thank you for being so funny (you are a hoot and a half!). Thank you for being so sweet (you are sweeter than the confectioner's sugar on a powdered doughnut!). Thank you for being game for good mischief (and having a great evil genius mad scientist laugh to go with it). Thank you for being one of those people who is a bright light in the midst of the darkness that pervades the world. You are so open and loving and willing to wrap people in the embrace of your caring. So, Barbara, thank you.

  7. Hi! Hopped over here from Rayna's place. She gave us the award today, so I thought I'd come see you. This is a great post. Having the attitude of gratitude is so important to being content in life, I think. But I share your feelings of "if no one said thank you, then did I do it?" That was a brilliant explanation of how I've felt many a time. So nice to meet you ladies, and I look forward to reading you again.
    Tina @ Life is Good

  8. Today seems to be a teary day of for me (the good tears). Thanks all for your encouragement and sweet words. Rigel, you are a doll!

    And congrats to Lyndsie and Rigel for their new-found labour. Woot.

    And click onto any of these commenters -- Rayna, Lyndsie, Lisa, Rigel and Tina -- for their wonderful words of wisdom.

  9. Barb,
    I just want to say that for one day when you need it.

    : )

  10. I love this post too. What more is there to say?

    Oh yeah, thank you.

    And, Barb, on so many levels, I believe we are kindred spirits.

  11. (btw, I dont think the comments don't stick as for some reason the second step of typing a captcha on your blog falls well below my screen. So first I hit post comment, then it will ask me to either confirm or sign in to, say, google then hit post again. But then there's the captcha step and if I'm not paying attention, I forget this third time because I can't see it on my screen. Does that make any sense?)

  12. Thanks, Hollye, will take that one to the bank!

    Gae, yes, so kindred.

    As for the comments thing -- as much as that might be, I've had other people tell me they're having issues, and they've done the captcha, so really don't know, argh...


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