Work While You Work

Work while you work.
Play while you play.
This is the way
to be happy and gay.
One thing at a time.
And done well.
Is the best of rules,
As many can tell.
So, work while you work,
And play while you play.

–English nursery rhyme

Work While You Work


We are putting in our gardens this week; a little late in the season, into poorer soil than we’d hoped. It’s somewhat disheartening to see shin-high corn as our seeds go into the ground, or spy black dirt in a neighboring field. And yet, the Nepal trip timing was completely in God’s hands, and He knew the resources we had this year to mitigate the soil, so…

So we work. And yes, it is hard work. It’s the kind of work that makes 45 year-old men reach for the clary sage oil as he rolls out of bed, the kind of work that leaves a robust 17 year-old boy slowly lifting his fork at the dinner table because he’s just so tired. It’s the kind of work that has us all out in the fields with various implements, singing sometimes, breathing hard others.

We work as if the harvest is guaranteed, as if God has already ordained bounty. It’s hard not to draw parallels, as your hoe scrapes yet another row, between the labor of creating a garden and the labor of raising a child. Both require careful work on a raw product that, left unattended goes fallow. Both need cultivation, purposeful planting, and attentive care first as little sprouts and later as weeds try to creep in. And both promise great returns that may or may not be realized—often by means entirely out of your control.

Today, it’s back into the gardens. There’s more dirt to move. More rows to dig, more mounds to plant. Children will fuss at one another. Character issues will arise. Someone will scrape a knee, and a bag of seeds will run short just shy of the end of a row. Clothes will still need to be washed and hung, meals still need to be made.

So I will work while I work, looking ahead to the fruit God produces in my land, my children, and myself.