Perspective is important. The place from which we view things is not trivial.
I am employed as a chemist. My job entails teaching and research in chemistry. But I do a fair bit of spirituality related work on the side. This has been the case for the last three and a half years. Because of the time investment in spirituality I have felt at times that I have been short changing chemistry a little. Mainly because I don’t invest as much after hours or over weekends as many of my colleagues do. The record playing in my head is that I am lazy.
But…in the last month or so I have been given a position in the faculty of theology at my university which means that my spirituality work doesn’t need to be ‘hobby’ but can be counted an academic contribution. Just last week I started to look at my work contribution as a whole – not summarily discounting the spirituality portion, and I began to see that actually when I look at the whole I do work quite hard.
I will never be accused of being a workaholic. I value my down-time too much for that. But I am grateful for the shift in perspective. It allows me to recognise the full contribution I do make, and to let go of self-recrimination. From this angle I can celebrate the whole of my life. And I know that I am more likely to be more focused and more productive when I feel contented with what I am already producing. (I am sure this is not a universal truth, but it is true for me!)
The shift in perspective means I can breathe, that I can step up to the challenge of tomorrow with all that I am – as chemist, spiritual director and author – that this crazy mix of gifts is all that is asked of me and that I am equal to the task! For this I am tremendously grateful.