Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Love My Work

Years ago when I was at my best friend Jesse's house, I was thinking about how his father seemed to be a machine. He worked in construction and remodeling his entire life, and after he divorced Jesse's mother, he was a single dad. During the days he went to work hauling lumber, framing walls, and installing roofing. Then at night he was making dinner, cleaning house, helping Jesse with his homework, and teaching Jesse martial arts or watching a movie. I was at their house every day after school, on weekends, and sometimes before school in the mornings when Bill would feed my brother Skyler and me his patented two-pan, baked omelette layer cake-a-majigger.

One day when I was helping set the table before dinner at Jesse's house, I asked Bill how he did it. I said, "Bill, how can you work all day and then come home and do nothing but work here in the house?" His answer went straight over my head, but finally, at the age of 30, I have come to know exactly what he was talking about.

He said, "When I come home, this is when I get to spend time with Jesse. I love being at home, so it's not work to me."

I thought he was crazy.

Yesterday I was remodeling my closet when I got to thinking how much work I've done on this house in the last couple months. I have been thrilled as each project has come to completion and my house is just a little safer, a little more comfy, a little roomier. It helps that I like to work with my hands, too. But my kids are here. My wife is here. My dogs are here. The neighbor comes over to talk to me. Emily brings me drinks and sandwiches when she can tell my sheep-dog nature has taken over and I'm going to work myself to death.

I love teaching my children how to take care of their house. They love to take turns vacuuming the living room and helping with dishes. I love watching them and hearing them play in the yard, imagining they're building buildings, cooking food, caring for babies, doing magic tricks. I am ecstatic that I get to spend my days around these people. We all love each other so much. Our love and our efforts all come together to make this a beautiful home.

This isn't work to me, either.

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