The Desk

October 13, 2007

A Purpose

There are days when we get discouraged about everything. The first impulse is to simply give up — completely give in to the setbacks and inertia. This is not some flitting fancy. It’s part of the emotion and state of mind involved in depression. And it happens not because we didn’t lift a finger and what we wished for on a star didn’t fall into our hands. No, there’s another reason for the depression.

The depression is the result of many long hours (even months or years) of striving, struggling against great odds and obstacles without rest or recreation. It seems the more we struggle, the more we work toward achieving our goal, the farther away it is removed from our grasp.

Additionally, we find ourselves not being rewarded in any manner for our efforts — or at least it seems that way on initial blush. All we can see is the hard labor, the sacrifices, the meagerness about us, the squalor, the unsavory characters that we were taught in Sunday School to give charity who are now our comrades. How did this circumstance happen and why? Is this the reward for hard work?

The fruit of our endeavors is taken from us, credit for it given to others who have done little to even merit their initials near the product. If credit is not given to another, then we find the work deleted, erased, denigrated as pitiful and having little to no value.

There is justification for this depression. It is not right, it is not fair to put forth so much effort and find yourself in a negative position from where you started. Life is about growth, not regression. Life is about becoming more capable, growing stronger and taller with each passing day. Life is about growing wiser with each experience.

And therein lies the answer to the frustration and depression. Were it an actuality that we were not making progress, there would be no one erasing what was done. No one would be trying to claim our work as theirs. And if there were not quality as part of the inherent value of the product, it would not be desired, there would be no competition for ownership of it.

What this says, then, is that we have wronged ourselves. We have put ourselves in the midst of people and we do not belong in this crowd. These people have a great deal to learn. There is a lot they need to learn about theirselves. There is a lot they need to learn about putting into a project the quality that is required in order to derive that quality at completion.

Our frustration is that, as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs puts it, we are striving to build our monuments to ourselves. The monuments are being destroyed and sometimes before our very eyes. We realize that with each destruction or theft, there is nothing to mark the fact that we traveled this road and had that impact on the environment as well as other beings.

It isn’t a comfort, especially if you’re in this frame of mind at this instant. But take heart. This Earth is a very volatile place. Nothing lasts. Everything is destroyed in its own time. Earthquakes will tumble mountains, tsunami will wash away entire civilizations. And with those destructions, evidence of the people and their civilization will also be destroyed. The only difference is that one was done by Man, the other by Nature.

True, this consolation is meager. But it is consolation. The other is, as I said before, if the efforts had poor worth, no one would bother to take or destroy it. Be glad that you did something that lured the avarist. You set a milestone before them, a bar over which they needed to leap and they could not meet the test.

As to the losses, especially of proper company, there is a remedy. Start today to make time for yourself. Give yourself an indulgence at least once a week. Call or email an old friend. Find a reason to laugh. Make certain you have a voluntary smile. Even if it’s a cup of weak tea, sip it as though it’s a priceless wine to be savored.

And most of all, remember to consider the little things that are still providing you with quality of life.

To pass over all of these things without thinking about them, appreciating them, is definitely the waste. It’s amazing when we take the time to look over our shoulder at the part of the field that has already been plowed instead of what is in front of us that is still rough hewn and in need of order. An occasional look back can actually bolster our conviction to push forward. There is conviction. But there needs to be a time of rest in order to consider what has already come and gone. It wasn’t a waste. It all had a purpose.

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Does your resume say ‘Hire me!’?

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