Going the extra mile
Far from falling into idleness and boredom, this current condition of ours brought about by the pandemic and its consequent prudential measures should challenge us and give rise to novel manifestations of our creativity and productivity.
If we just think a little and have the proper attitude, we know that the restrictions we are having these days do not necessarily restrict us in our creativity and productivity. Like some water that knows how to make its way from the mountain to the sea, we would know how to be creative and productive despite the new restrictions.
So, if anything at all, our present condition can occasion new things even if we seem to be pushed back to times past and “forced” to do things that we have already left behind long time ago. The secret, I think, is to go the extra mile at whatever we are doing,
even if it is a manual household chore which usually is the case nowadays since our stay-out domestic helpers would most likely be not available at this time.
We just have to remind ourselves that what matters most in our activities is not so much the kind of work we are doing as the way we are doing it. Are we doing it with love, or are we just doing it out of a certain sense of compliance? Are we doing our work with God as front and center of it, or are we doing things only for our own self-interest.
In the eyes of God, any kind of work, whether intellectual or manual, social, political, economic or domestic, as long as it is not sinful, is always pleasing to God as long as it is done with love.
And when things are done with love, we would not just be interested in complying with the deadlines and other technical requirements, though they are very important also. We would be more interested in doing our work with great care for details and with due concern for fulfilling all the requirements, of course.
What is most important is that we do our work, whatever it is, as a love offering to God, aware that our work is actually a part of the abiding providence of God over all of us. We would be aware that we are actually doing or cooperating in God’s work. Our work is never just purely ours. It has to be a work of God, since we unavoidably get involved in the providence of God over all his creation.
So, there’s never a dull moment when things are done with love since we would be keenly aware of the cosmic dimensions of our work, whatever it is. Doing a lowly task with love acquires great sanctifying value. That task would have the power to bring us to heaven even if we are in the kitchen or the laundry area.
Thus, washing dishes, cleaning the floor, doing laundry can be more pleasing to God if done with love than doing the more serious tasks of our profession and business but without love. That is, the latter are done simply mechanically, or as an expression of self-indulgence, pride, vanity and the like.
Perhaps these days are good days to remind ourselves more deeply of the most fundamental truths of our life: where we come from, where we are heading ultimately, what the real purpose of our life here on earth is, etc.
We need to realize that at any moment of our life here on earth, whether we are engaged in complicated, sophisticated work or simple, domestic tasks, God is still forming us to be his image and likeness. It is his initiative of love to which we also have to correspond with love.
Thus, when we go the extra mile, we would always give priority to our spiritual duties over our other tasks, with the latter always being converted into a means to correspond with God, doing them the best that we can.