The first Monday in September is a legal holiday in the United States that recognizes and honors the contributions of labor – the work we do. After the industrialization of the US economy in the late eighteen hundreds and the rise of organized labor unions, the holiday came into being. This federally sanctioned day off honors the American worker and the contributions made to the prosperity of the country.
Today Labor Day also symbolizes the end of the summer season and many people use the extra time to go to the beach one more time and enjoy some time with family and or friends. Unfortunately, from my perspective, retailers use this time to offer various sales and promotions overtaking the actual meaning of the Holiday.
Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart. Rumi
To labor means to work, to toil and perhaps to struggle. The work we do, on the job or off the job, gives meaning and purpose to our lives. For each of us has been blessed with unique talents and gifts that we have been graced with. Part of our journey in life is to find meaning in the work we do and express these gifts to the best of our abilities. If we can still our minds and listen for divine guidance, we will follow our calling towards work that is meaningful and on purpose. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Making beautiful music together
A symphony orchestra is comprised of many different instruments with each contributing to the sound of the music, the work, it creates. We are musicians in the symphony of life, with each of us playing a unique instrument.
My favorite symphony is Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – Ode to Joy. It is a massive collection of singers and a symphony orchestra and no matter how many times I hear it I am generally moved to the point of tears at some point in the piece. If you have not already heard it, I strongly recommend you attend a live performance if you can. Beethoven’s 9th includes a triangle part ( approximately 1:03:00 into recording) which you can hear and see at the following:
Throughout the 9th symphony, the triangle player sits patiently waiting for his turn. It is nearly an hour into the performance before you hear him. But his part is vital for the symphony, and he adds much to the piece through his contribution. We are all like that triangle player – we have an important contribution to make as part of the orchestra of life.