The Blessing of Work

My nose stuck in between the pages of a book has always been one of my happy places. It’s been like that since I can remember. As much as I loved school, summer vacation meant endless hours locked in some fantasy world. It’s what I lived for.

The summer after fourth grade, my best friend and I had a contest to see who could read the most books. We didn’t get together for playdates, we called each other every couple of days to compare numbers. I still think she was skipping chapters, because in the end, she read three times as many books as me, and I was reading every minute I was awake.

I believe every book I’ve ever read, in some small way, has shaped me and the course of my life, but then every so often, there’s a book that grabs my ship’s helm, and with wild abandonment gives it a spin, forever changing the course of my life’s ship.

Big Magic is one of those books. It’s the reason I’m here everyday writing this month, whether I have anything good to write or not. It grabbed my creative steering wheel, gave it a quick turn, and said, “Let’s have some fun!”

As I slid across the deck, the salty waves crashing over the edge, I could feel my heart thump, “Now this is why I write. This is why humans are meant to create.”

Matt’s reading one of those books right now, too. It’s called Spiritual Economics (I know, yawn). Over and over, he’s told me, “Charity, this book is kicking my butt.” Then, he’ll proceed to read me a couple of paragraphs about the principles of God and money, because he can’t help but share, and that’s what I love about him.

Then, this morning I felt our two ships crash past each other, splashing waves over each other’s rails. Today, I saw just how interconnected we all really are. I saw how there really is no separation. I never thought a book on creative living and a book on money could come from the same source, yet today I watched them unite, and I realized we’re all sailing in the same ocean, we’re all navigating within the Divine.

It started off with, “Charity, this chapter on giving is so good. It’s changing everything for me.” Then, he proceeded to read to me about the principle of giving and receiving, and how “Life for the whole person is a giving process”:

There is an inspired painting by German, artist, Rosenthal, entitled The Blessing of Work. It depicts a young boy carving a life-size picture of the Virgin Mary. The almost-completed figure towers above the young artist, and while he works intently carving the details of the feet, Mary looks down upon him with love and with outstretched arms, blessing him. While he is giving himself in the creative flow, he is dynamically receiving immeasurably in return. The painting reveals much more: light is streaming through the open window, its rays bathing him with the aura of illumination. On a large plaque on the wall, a heavenly choir is singing paeons of praise directly toward him. By his side, there is what we assume is a picture of his mother which he is using for a model, and with hands clasped in devotion, she is blessing him. Thus the whole tone of the work suggest that the whole Universe is rushing, streaming, pouring into the boy, while he quietly gives himself in creative effort. It is a beautiful visual testimony to Jesus: “Give and you shall receive.

But the important thing is, nothing can ever exceed or detract from the compensation that the boy is receiving at the instant while he is working…such is the law of giving.”

The Blessing of Work by Rosenthal

{Image source}

Chills. “While he is giving himself in the creative flow, he is dynamically receiving immeasurably in return…the whole Universe is rushing, streaming, pouring into the boy, while he quietly gives himself in creative effort.”

Chills, because it makes complete sense. Spiritual Economics is the next book I’ll be reading.

1 thoughts on “The Blessing of Work

  1. Esther Sutliff says:

    I have, The Blessing of Work. I bought it at an estate sale. I loved the painting although it was not framed. I looked on the back of the painting, to see if I could find a name and artist. The artist was T. Rosenthal.

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