Labor Observations

After the initial period of perpetual novelty,

routines begin to set into

the labor that I do.

Slippery mosses grow over and about

these youthful, foolishly splendid

attitudes of awe.

It is not in the known that I look for answers

in order to see mosses and bushes and rocks

for what they truly are.

I once read that the bush is always burning;

in fact, “what seems to be a stone

is a drama.”

And further, the mentor from another bay connotes

that “wonder or radical amazement

is the chief characteristic of the religious man’s attitude

toward history and nature.

One attitude is alien to his spirit:

taking things for granted,

regarding events as a natural course of things.”

So while norms and routines are needed and real,

I refuse to succumb to the ambivalence

with which they eventually contain my work.

The wise man goes on with worthy words,

that “there are dead and living thoughts”,

so I am called to rethink.

The quest is to find life and the mystery in all of it,

no matter how small

or big the task.

And while the boss proclaims that “this is one of the goals

of the Jewish way of living: to experience commonplace deeds

as spiritual adventures, to feel the hidden love

and wisdom in all things”,

I, too, feel called to show up now.

After all, I’m no vacuum product

but a daughter of them all,

the many who came before.

So in this bush’s leaves and flames

my stance is firm and transient

so that all my labor remains most of all

an act of wonder and awe.

All quotations are taken from Abraham Joshua Heschel’s “Man in Search of God: A Philosophy of Judaism”