As a child I did not understand the passion in my Daddy’s face as he walked the fields, bragged about crop yields, and took the tobacco to market. I could not comprehend the pride in my Mama’s smile when she showed off a cake straight from the oven or displayed jars of freshly canned green beans.
Back then I did not share the excitement Grandpa felt when crates of “dranks,” cartons of cigarettes, and boxes of staples arrived regularly at his country store across the road. I took for granted the sparkle in Aunt Gladys’ eyes as she pointed out the many fabrics in her various quilt designs.
During my childhood I did not know that I was surrounded by artists who naturally created masterpieces and by entrepreneurs who constantly celebrated their wares. I wanted to write, sing, dance, dramatize, and take my talents a long way from the family farm. I yearned to create and perform as far away as possible from Buckhorn community near Sanford in rural North Carolina.
I left home seeking fame and fortune, pursued academic achievement, chased financial triumphs, and longed for worldly success.
For almost three decades I gained communications expertise through newspapers, magazines, television, public relations, marketing, and speaking. I liked being in the limelight and found pleasure in the “citified” lifestyle. Eventually I realized that creativity does not require glamorous settings or demand big bucks to thrive. An aching in my soul drew me back to the country where I focused on creating columns, articles, and books and finding a unique voice as a writer.
Ultimately I discovered that expressing oneself authentically is a spiritual high. Creative self-expression is a pleasurable prize. Joyful work is the richest reward. In “The Prophet,” Kahlil Gibran states: “To love life through labor is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.”
My Daddy, my Mama, my Grandpa, and Aunt Gladys did not care about such fancy phrases but their lives demonstrated that they understood this secret. These four role models, who were very different in talent and temperament, had one thing in common: each chose the work best suited for their skills and dispositions and performed their tasks with love.
In honor of Labor Day I started a blog about our Work in the world on the internet, filed under www.inside919.com, later to be linked with my websitewww.AlexSandraLett. com.
Work is spelled with a capital W because our Work is how we give to the World, whether as a parent, a homemaker, an entrepreneur, a farmer, a carpenter, or a company executive.
When we focus on loving labor, labor loves us and brings us bliss. Through writing I am feeling in tune with life’s innermost secret.
What about you?