A few weeks ago, I was talking with my dad and brother after work and my dad asked me to do something in the house. I think it was probably just cleaning a room or mowing the lawn or something, but being stubborn and ornery I said something to the effect of, "I've been working all day!" My dad got a little frustrated and said, "Life is work." At the time, I didn't think much about it. This was my workaholic father speaking-- the same man that wakes the entire family at 6 in the morning with his vacuuming-- so naturally that's something he would say.
A few days later I was, once again, chatting with my bro, Eric. He said, "I keep thinking about when dad said 'Life is work'." We kind of left the conversation at that, but Eric's reminder made me think more about it.
My perspective on life has always been a little bit.. frivolous, I suppose. I usually scoff when I hear everyone talk about how hard life is and how stressful it can be. I get annoyed when people complain because, in my eyes, life is simple as long as you keep an eternal perspective (except for the occasional trial that heads your way). That's just the way I figured I would get through life, until I started thinking about why, in my dad's opinion at least, life was work.
The first reason I thought of was because if you don't work, you aren't going to get very far in life. You have to work for what you want. There are NO shortcuts. If you want a college degree, you have to go to school. If you want a fantastic career, you have to take the steps to get yourself there. No matter what tv shows or books may tell you, you can't make a life for yourself in a week. It comes with dedication, patience, and most of all, work.
After my initial realization, I started to explore other areas of life where work might be considered an essential. My mind went to religion. The type of work required in religion is sometimes hard for me to consider as "work". These tasks, to me, include scripture study, prayer, temple attendence, service.. all the sunday school answers. Scripture study isn't "work" to me, because I love to read. It still takes dedication and an active, ready-to-learn mind. Prayer is something I've had to work hard at. I used to always do "thinking" prayers, never speaking out-loud. I would frequently lose focus and find myself wondering if I had actually ended my prayer. As pathetic as it sounds, I had to work at kneeling, praying outloud, and saying the things that truly needed to be said instead of reciting the usual "prayer-lines". Temple attendence is definitely something I struggle with. Mostly because I hate to go alone and it's tough to find someone that can always go at the same time as me. I miss the Jr. High days when we went every Tuesday morning. Those were good times. It's the same principle as my initial realization. If you don't work hard (in your religion), you aren't going to get very far.
My mind moved to other aspects of life (and continues to do so), and recently it's become difficult for me to think of something that doesn't and will never require work. It was a little disheartening to me. I love to have a light heart and believe that everything will work out in the end. Ironically, I never realized that for things to work out, you had to work at them. I wanted everying to be natural and beautiful without my having to put a lot of effort into it. I imagined that kind of life, and at first I LOVED it. Everything seemed to be perfect. No worries, no struggles, just beauty and comfort. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the things I enjoy most right now are the things I've worked the hardest for. I love to play piano. Has it always been that way? Absolutely not. There were phases when I never wanted to touch those 88 dreadful keys ever again. Thank goodness my mom knew better and kept me going. As vain as this sounds, I love Brody (my car). To know how much time and effort has gone into my little buddy makes it impossible for me to be indifferent about him. I love my family. We work together on building relationships. So basically, what I'm saying is that I don't want ANYTHING unless I have to work for it. I find myself agreeing with my wise dad.
LIFE IS WORK.
(and that's not a bad thing)