The following was written for the OLBH Bulletin Cover for February 4, 2018:
In the first reading from Job, he begins by asking the question, “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?” For many of us, due to illnesses or age or work or for many other reasons, our response would be “YES!” As I reflect upon my own life, there have been many times drudgery is exactly the word I would use to describe my situation.
Two days after graduating from high school, after arriving and checking in at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, realizing I was going to be away from home for over three months at basic and advance training, I was dreading the decision I had made. While I didn’t exactly know what was going to happen over the next months, I did know as Job puts it, “I have been assigned months of misery.” And the worst part was, I actually volunteered for this.
All of us at times, experience periods of drudgery. For some, it is working at a monotonous job. For others, it might be sitting through a long lecture at school or at a work conference. Some of us, it is after a medical test then receiving a phone call from the doctor’s office telling us we have an appointment, and to bring our spouse. And for many, especially the elderly due to their health, every day may be filled with drudgery as they struggle with loneliness.
During these periods of drudgery in our life, if we dwell on it, it will actually make the drudgery even worse. As Job says “If in bed I say, ‘When shall I arise?’ then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.”
So how can we cope with these periods in our lives? As always, following Jesus’ example would be a good option. As we read in the Gospel from Mark, after spending the entire evening curing diseases and driving out demons, Jesus rises early in the morning, “went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.”
If our job is monotonous, spend time thanking God for the gift of employment and all the things you have because of the job. When experiencing the drudgery of the school lecture or work conference, say a pray thanking God for the gift of hearing and sight, and ask God what he wants you to get out of talk. When dealing with frightening medical news, thank God for providing medical personal and treatments, then ask God for the strength to get through it. When dealing with loneness, thank God for all the people he has put in your life, and ask God to help you serve others by allowing others to serve you.
By changing our perspective, by looking at each of those periods of drudgery as opportunities for pray and thank God for all of the gifts he gives us, our life of drudgery, can become a life of gratitude. It won’t happen immediately. It could take a lifetime. But by practicing a life of gratitude, it will prepare us for an eternity of joy.