Ending a Year that Mattered

The best gifts are each other - our relationships, our conversations, our smiles, our listening. Thank you all for the gifts of yourselves to me.  I wish you a joyful holi-day season and a very blessed 2016!

(thank you Jessica Esch, as usual, for your incredible artistic talent)

Tiptoe Through the Tulips No More

Well, last week’s post got some great responses.  I find it very providential that Jessica Esch has been reading myJessica Esch "#58 At Last" mind as she’s creating her book ;-).  The horrors of last Friday are very fresh for all of us, and sorrowfully, will be permanently fresh for many families in Newtown.  I can’t even fathom their pain and anguish.  It truly is beyond comprehension.

This is the season of merriment, peace and goodwill where we are all smiles and happiness.  Perhaps this should also be the season of taking a stand.  And this is not a paradox!  If we are to truly lead a meaningful, bountiful life that wonderfully makes a difference in the lives of others, then we cannot be the silent majority.  We need to look political correctness in the face and tell it where to go.

We’ve blurred the lines between freedom and license, between having the right and it being right, and between output (a vehement disagreement) and outcome (a solution achieved through work, compromise and promise). Our fear of offending others can have a very high price – life itself. 

So, in this season of joy and blessings, as you prepare for time with family and friends, as you put on your smiles, real and manufactured, find time for a little reflection on what you will stand for in 2013.  What will you refuse to tiptoe around and finally address – with wisdom, firmness, and compassion?  When you look in the mirror, who will you see? I pray it will be someone who has made a significant and powerful impact on and for others…by not staying silent.  Tiptoe no more! Let 2013 be a year of making a difference!

Season of Giving - Gift of Work

Tis the giving season.  My kids always ask what I want they can ‘wrap’ instead of ‘do’, like empty the dishwasher, fold laundry, not argue, etc.  They don’t view chores, ‘work’ as a gift.  But, I sure do!

Work has a lot to do with Christmas and Chanukah.  Our work creates gifts and capital for gifts.  It’s not just ‘stuff’.  Work creates products, services, capital…and relationships – with colleagues, employees, bosses, peers, service providers, and suppliers and of course customers.

Bear with me, this may seem circuitous but it ‘works’.  One of the Hebrew words for work (used in the 4th Commandment) is Melakah: work, occupation, business, workmanship, service, purpose.  Melakah has the same root as mal’ak, which means messenger or angel. Talk about work with meaning and purpose!  

For me, work is a way to deliver a message, it’s a ‘calling’.  To me, melakah implies the actual work AND its outcome.  If we aren’t providing meaningful, purposeful outcomes that meet or exceed our customers’ needs, we won’t be around too long.  Work is about ‘thou’ (other), not about you and me. Which gets back to relationships, doesn’t it?

So, as we prepare for Christmas and Chanukah, take a moment to thank G-d for the gift of work and the gifts of our works.  When we unwrap our gifts, think about the hands that designed, built, packaged, shipped, shelved and wrapped it – rejoice and give thanks.  And, as we prepare for 2012, let’s think about the message we will deliver to those who receive the gifts of our work – and how we can better their work and lives. 

 

p.s. A special thanks to my friend Michael Stallard for turning me onto Skip Moen’s site which prompted this post.