Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why I work

Originally posted circa August 3, 2004:

Latest bulletin from the Olde Dominion, the Commonwealth; from Columbia, the gem of the Ocean.

Aunt Rolene sent me a very nice email about setting aside some special time with Diane. Thank you, Aunt Rolene: I took off both Saturday AND Sunday from work to spend special time with Diane and to give Diane some li'l tyke respite.

Diane has been acutely ill (a cold) from a little sniffle Isabel caught, and then spread to the rest of the family (Isabel and I were least affected), so we've spent extra time in bed, recovering ... I think I actually slept 4 hours last night, *WOW*. Besides the colds, the whole family is in excellent spirits. Isabel woke me this morning, on time: 7 am on the dot, with her joyful, open-mouthed, squawks. Elena Marie had already left with her Mama to shower and then to leap into her dress; after that, she joined us in bed, entertaining Isabel, who was delighted to see her Ate (big sister).

I've restarted my martial arts training, practicing kenjutsu every night, which I enjoy very much (and which is making writing this email difficult: my arms are heavy). I've also been playing through a game of go every night (not last night, unfortunately): specializing in the games of Takemiya Masaki, as I'm best able to understand and to play his moyo (center-oriented) style in my games.

So, I was preparing to leave for work this morning, kissing each of my darlings goodbye. Elena Marie enjoys the leave-taking, cheeringly shouting a "Bye!" Diane rushed me out the door, as Isabel is now able to crawl from the dining room to the front door with speed. But Diane queried Elena Marie first: "Why does Papa go to work?" Elena Marie looked at her mama quizzically. Diane pressed forward: "... so Elena can ...?" Elena Marie didn't answer the question, just shouted out another "Bye!" to her departing Papa, and then went out to the entrance to wave.

All who work are called to answer that unanswered question (first posed in music by Charles Ives), and I believe that my answers are pretty much the same as every other working person's, but sometimes it's good to summarize them and then meditate on them.
  1. Because I can: I'm blessed with ability and with a task to which I can apply that ability

  2. Because it's my vocation to provide for (and to protect) my family, and the fruits of my work give that.

  3. Because I learn from work, about myself, about others, and about the things which my work affects

  4. So I can return home a better husband and father

  5. So others can return home to their families and friends

  6. So the country and the world can be a better place.


So, I'm off to do that.

After writing this email, my sweetie called me. She had arrived, and parked outside the facility so that Elena Marie could complete her message. I strolled through three sets of armed guards, two check-points and a gated barbed-wire fence to rendez-vous with them in our little Mazda so I could hear the special message:

Diane: "Elena, Papa goes to work to give Mama ..."
Elena: *smile* *look* *look* "Pera!"
Diane: "So that Elena may buy ..."
Elena: "dresses!" *bounce-bounce* "And, Elena tried them on and turned around!" (Elena Marie exults in modelling her acquisitions)

Diane then handed me a tin full of muffins (Elena Marie had been asking to 'bake a cake' this morning): "Elena, what are we giving Papa?"
Elena: "'anana mffins!"

With her message delivered, Elena's mission was complete. "Bye!" she cheerily dismissed me. I waved them off, and walked back to the facility, knowing why I was returning to work.


Beki said...

Thank you for the great email. I'm so glad that you found an opportunity to make special time for Diane and to give her a break. I loved the Elena Marie story with the muffins and the dresses and everything!

I will be coming the evening of the 20th and staying til the evening of the 22nd. Too short, but it was all I could do...

I loved the insight into why you work too. Its so important to remember, but especially for us, growing up the way we did. I'm glad you don't feel the same way about your work as our dad did and I'm sorry he felt the way he did for as long as he did.

I'm heading home to my honey after a pretty full day of work myself.

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