A Word on Wednesday: Essential

In the presence of God, I strip away all the unnecessary chaos. I get essential. I have luxury, but I aim for simplicity. Less unimportant stuff. More meaningful artifacts and art. Curating an uncluttered space is essential.

I was recently considered an essential worker, such a crazy idea that was born out of the pandemic of 2020. It was no special prize, in Wisconsin, liquor store employees also were considered essential when the country went on lock down.

The word essential used this way is misleading. Yes, the economy and society needed basic and advanced goods and services. I, however, didn’t need to be the one leaving my family, who was locked at home with laptops and lessons. It was a choice I made. It seemed right, dutiful, and prudent.

Looking back at all the time that has since passed, I regret not being present more at home. And looking at the present, I still question how essential my time away is. The best I can do is self care to be more effective when I do have the opportunity to be home. Not burnt out, not exhausted, but rather full of energy to participate in the joy of family life.

Day jobs are essential, period. Yet, these structures do not have to cage us into positions that remove us from what is truly essential. It is easy to get wrapped up in deadlines, projects, and ideas. But the personal why is vital to understand. I do not exist for other’s profit, but to create good. The result of the effort should enhance the quality of someone’s life or said another way make my corner of the world a better place. Yet, I do not stop to think in this way. I go through the motions: dress, hair, make-up, laptop bag. This time of year, I drive to the office, coffee in hand, in the dark. I spend the bulk of my day there and return in the early evening’s darkness. And this is not all drudgery. I truly enjoy the hours spent in collaboration with like-minded, ambitious colleagues and the contributions we make in our community.

Onward, though. There is more. I can remember the essential practices of prayer and relaxation. I can make a concentrated effort to live in joy. From this moment, I can peel the layers of chaos. I can eliminate the fluff. I can step away, take notice. Reflect on the gifts of the Lord in my life.

God gives these essential blessings. Let me take notice and give thanks.

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