These mornings I tend to believe in Gandhi’s prescription; that one’s own bread labor – labor that is not for hire, that doesn’t turn into a commodity but feeds you – can enrich one’s life and lead to a kind of liberation. — Brad Kessler
My shoulders ache from pushing blue paint against dirty white walls yesterday, and every time I go to stand up from a squat, I take an especially deep breath. My body is feeling, a bit, the labor prepping this farm house. It feels amazing.
Unlike Brad Kessler (whose book Goat Song you really should read), whose goats produce milk that he turns into cheese, my farm is not yet producing things I can eat. Yet, it is producing “labor that is not for hire.” No one is paying me to do this work, and to be honest, the farm may never make me a cent. I don’t care. This place is about living the life I love, not about making money.
It can be really easy for me to begin thinking that making money is the point – our culture basically screams that idea at us all the time in a cycle of make money/spend money that can be maddening. I can begin to worry that I don’t have funds bamboo flooring that helps sustain our resources, that I need to curb my dream because I will never be able to buy food for Great Pyrenees and alpacas, that maybe I need to think about making that commute three hours to DC to teach because of the pay.
While I cannot ignore money altogether (but boy would I like to – I could live very happily on the barter system), I REFUSE to let it dictate what will happen at God’s Whisper. I refuse to let it drive my life.
Because it is the labor that is enriching, not the money. The diamonds are in the kernels of dry corn that make Rusty and Ruby Chicken chatter. The rubies are Meander’s huge paws as she thunders to me on our morning walks. The gold and silver will be the goats bleating and the alpacas ruminating on their pasture. The vast riches are found in the hours my father puts into designing a new closet for me, as he gazes at the mountains that make him feel whole, and in the conversations held over paint buckets with my dear, dear friends.
These are the treasures, and they are more than enough. They are wealth uncountable.
What labor in your life do you do simply because you love it?