Men at work

posted in: Everyday Spirit | 0

Who doesn’t love watching men at work? It means someone else is doing hard yakka – and if that ‘someone else’ happens to be fit, muscular and tanned, so much the better.

We have men at work right next door, building 3 houses on what was a single house block. The old house, which had been there for 50 years, was demolished in an hour by one man and a machine. Now the place is swarming with both men and machines. Early in the morning we hear the rumbles and beeps of the machines, the noise of the men directing operations –  “over here – further, further, STOP!” –  and the  sound of their radios and good-natured ribbing. Occasionally we hear their complaints, and just now the sudden silence of the machine and “What the f@*#!”. “It’s the battery, mate”. “Naw – it can’t be, mate”. “It is the battery. It’s gotta be. It says here it’s the battery”. “Well, I’m telling you it can’t be. I just changed it yesterday”. “I dunno, mate – let’s stop for smoko”.

I love watching builders, tradies, craftsmen, mechanics and everybody who produces tangible things. Being fairly impractical myself, I’m impressed by the skills and knowledge people have that enables them to make, build, fix and do. My skills are more in intangible things – writing, listening, caring, imagining – all useful, no doubt, but there is something very satisfying about doing something with your hands and ending up with something you can see, touch and use.

At one stage I spent 3 solid months working on our house and huge overgrown garden, getting it ready to rent. The work was physically hard (digging, pruning, burning off, moving heavy stuff, all on days so hot that sweat was running down and stinging my eyes so I couldn’t see), but I loved it. I worked from early in the morning till late at night – as soon as it was too dark outside, I’d start inside sanding, painting, sorting and cleaning. I felt so energized, and loved seeing the results of my efforts. And my body loved moving, stretching and pushing itself. It thrived on hard work.

Remembering this reminds me that hard work is not the enemy! We can get into the trap of thinking of holidays and ‘free’ time as the good times – as our renewing times. But hard work that is satisfying, creative, challenging, and that allows us to use our skills and passions to do something positive – this can also be incredibly renewing. And that can be so whether our work is paid or not.

Wishing you a satisfying and joyful work day.



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