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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



In this semi constant fog that seems to have enveloped my mind the last few months, I’ve spent a number of hours thinking about work and happiness and how the two can be coexistent to each other. Unfortunately for many people work is work and it doesn’t always lead us to being happy. We either like our work, but dislike some small part of it; or we have found something we love to do and enjoy every minute of it. Too often though we allow work to envelope us and run our lives, making us bitter unhappy souls who just exist day to day working only to pay for the things we have to have, and never finding ourselves any farther ahead.

I’ve had a few conversations over the years and they always turn back to one constant question to which the answers just aren’t exactly clear. If you could do a job you would love, what would it be? For me that answer is as elusive as the perfect girl to date, but there are a few ideas that roll around in my head from time to time. The ministry seems to have been this constant thought rolling around my head for the last twenty years or so. The calling has been there, and yet it has always seemed to me that God hasn’t quite opened that door all the way for me yet. Maybe I’m just a little too much of a doubting Thomas sometimes to take that leap of faith and immerse myself into that career path, opting for now to keep my bills paid best I can and waiting for the kids to get a bit older. I do think it’s an option down the road, but then again, I’ve been looking down that road for a while now and wonder when I need to start actually walking down it.

Then there is my retirement bucket list plan. To buy a pick up and one of those fancy fifth wheel campers and to spend my treasure years drifting around the country visiting those small out of the way places that I’ve only read about, but have always wanted to see. The off the beaten path kind of places that the locals know, where a good tenderloin is not too far away, and a morning sunrise always looks a little different. I think we miss sometimes the real treasures and beauty found in this country and I would like to see those places for myself. To stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon and hearing the words of my uncle in my head saying, “Don’t stand too close to the rim, this is the Grand Canyon after all.” To sit on a curb in a small town as a parade marches by. To see the places where my ancestors lived and died. Maybe for me it’s the need to get out and spread my wings, to see the land beyond what I know as home, and just to see for myself that I chose the right thing by staying here to live my life.

Of course I could always fall back on what has been a conversation of laughter and teasing with my oldest when I’ve often told her that I’m going to buy a house in Ames and become the Den Mother to her and her female college friends. I could cook and clean and make sure they are in their rooms at night and get their homework done, and while I’m there might just wander and sit in on a few classes now and then just to pass the time. Just think of it, who better to make sure that the daughter graduates college without any major distractions than by having Dad living with her. I’m sure that I don’t need to detail in this space the many objections that she has thought up as to why this plan would be a bad idea, but on the other hand I think it could be a great deal of fun.

Regardless of what happens down the road, or where you or I work at, perhaps we should be happy by continuing to be employed and enjoying the fact that every day we can go in and contribute and make value from our lives. In the end, if you can’t enjoy any of it and you’re miserable all the time, it probably is a good sign you should get out. Heck, even flipping burgers, or putting up with the drama of a house full of college coeds is a better option if it in the end makes you happy. Life is way too short to spend your time any way else.

See you next week, remember…we’re all in this together.