The Grace of Work

I’m a control freak. This week, several different situations either arose, or intensified, and I didn’t have control over any of it. Which makes me sort of crazy.

When the crazy hits, I am appreciative of how work is a means of grace in my life. I can’t fix this situation. I’m not the person responsible for that decision. I can’t control the outcome of another situation. All these terrible variables spin around me like Dorothy’s Kansas twister, and I feel overwhelmed and anxious.

But I can work at whatever task is in front of me, whether that’s a work project or a sink load of dirty dishes. After an hour or four, I’m no more in control of the twister than I was before, but the dishes are clean, or I’ve made measurable headway on that work project, or that story is starting to take shape. Along with that, I’m calm. I’m able to return to the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the excerpt from an essay that has somehow become the poem that best captures my life:

Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities
no doubt have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with
your old nonsense.

This day is all that is
good and fair.
It is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on yesterdays.


  1. ·

    What a beautiful quote, Kat! I, too, am a bit of a control freak and when the day doesn’t go as planned (like today), I feel a bit out of sorts, but that sense of having produced something in the midst of the disorder brings me a certain level of calm.


  2. ·

    I think calm and chaos are both contagious. Like you say, if you produce something orderly in the midst of disorder, it can tilt the balance. šŸ™‚ Or at least make you feel like you’re not careening out of control so much!


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