“a little hard work never hurt anybody!” those words echo in my ears and have now for as long as i remember. the voices i hear in my heart as those words do their echoing belong to my papa (granddad) and my daddy.
by the time i was old enough to take notice, my granddad was retired. he spent a lot of time in his favourite chair, as many men do, or at least in those days did. we played a game with him. we waited for him to get out of his chair so that we could jump into it. i’m not sure why exactly but as i think back today i remember feeling important and safe as i sat there. i loved to grab the few seconds to sit in the warmth his body left behind. i felt love there, too. when he returned to find his seat occupied there was always a bit of a kerfuffle, followed by giggles and exits.
my granddad served in the military and worked the pipelines across the USA. both took their toll. the result was that he raised three men with a strong work ethic and an appreciation for a job well done.
i know that you have probably said this as well, BUT, my daddy is one of the hardest working men i have ever known in my life. he is now in retirement and i see an inner fight that anguishes at the thought of sitting down in his favourite chair to rest. while his body protests, he still strives to do what he he can (and more if it won’t lay him out for too long). anyone who knows him knows i am right. we jest with him over it, (and we are tired from watching it!) but we also admire him for it.
i have had some strong inspiration in my life from both of these examples…even when i didn’t want it or appreciate it at the time (due to the foolishness of youth).
equally as hard working is my mother. over the years, i have wondered where she got her energy and stamina. she was awake earlier than anyone else in the family so that she could get a few household chores out of the way before she headed off to her full time job. after work, she prepared meals and squeezed in a few more household chores on her way out the door to deliver one or all three of my siblings to piano lessons, work or other various activities. she spent countless hours sitting or sleeping in the car waiting to pick one of us up from some of those activities as well. she was always in constant motion…and i dare say, much like my dad, even today when her body begins to protest…she’s keeps on going…and with an impeccable attitude. in fact, i don’t ever recall either of my parents complaining about the tasks that were at hand. “you just do what you have to”, they would say with a smile.
my appreciation for hard work was a gift that my parents and grandparents gave to me.
so, yesterday, i am standing in the wind and the rain. i have the most hideous get-up on to shield me from the elements. i was sorting through a gold mine (from the pitch my husband gave me to get me there), covered in gold dust (yeah, right), i was wet, cold and exhausted. yet, i had a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. later, my husband said to me, “you did good out there. i’m proud of you. i don’t know too many women who would have agreed to do that job.” i thought, “not a lot of women were raised as a Hartness”.
let’s face it…life can be hard work.
at the end of each task, we want to know that what we have invested has value. after all, the cost is not small.
there have been times in my life when the requirement for hard work resulted in a deep sense of accomplishment.
i remember attempting to learn new things as a child like how to ride a po-go stick. i am not very co-ordinated at the best of times, even less athletic. i crashed and burned so many times. I bled a lot, too. finally, i did it…i learned how to stay on the thing and gleefully jump up and down. it felt great.
motherhood was one of the most terrifying and difficult jobs i ever attempted. i remember days of severe exhaustion but the 2am (wait…it felt like continuous 24 hour) feedings, diaper changes, comforting, entertaining and household chores demanded every ounce of strength i could muster. I dreamed of just a few quiet moments when i didn’t hear, “moo-oom-maaa!” Then more sleepless nights, potty training, a biting toddler…not to mention attempting to encourage good manners, right behaviours and a strong value system. i felt like a miserable failure many days throughout the years. i would cry, dry the tears, pray for strength and hit the floor running day after day. however, i have many days now that i am able to stand back and look at the two beautiful people, i call my children, with a proud heart. they are amazing.
when i turned 40, i decided that i needed a challenge. my friend suggested that we do a triathlon. i laughed in terror (even before i realised how many gruelling hours would be required to prepare). when i crossed the finish line, i wanted to collapse to the ground…wait, maybe i did collapse to the ground…and i just kept saying, “i did it. i did it.” i felt exhilarated.
there are many noteworthy pursuits that warrant every last bit of strength within us to accomplish: parenting; parenting children with disabilities; adoption or blending families; battling serious health issues; recovering from abuse, ill treatment or loss; surviving economic hardships or debt; learning to forgive the unforgivable; loving the unloveable; building strong relationships; building or rebuilding a business and countless other maddening hardships.
everyday we put in the hard work…
in great and small ways…
i know that you know exactly what this quote means when it says, “the harder you work for something the greater you feel when you finally achieve it.”
you feel great because you have invested the best part of yourself…
you didn’t quit even when it was tough…
through blood, sweat and countless tears…
you held to a standard you can be proud of…
you’ve earned it…stand back…feel the satisfaction…you have achieved your goal.
be proud of a job well done! you deserve it.
(this post is written in response to a request from one of my readers. thank you for your inquiries, comments and feedback.