Tanara McCauley

Culturally Imagined Stories

The Labor of the Journey


“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain…” John 15:16

My youngest is in the first weeks of her kindergarten career. After years of seeing her older siblings off to school and spending her days with me all to herself, the adjustment hasn’t been painless.

She greets Monday mornings with tolerance. Tuesdays with grudging acceptance. Wednesdays with stoicism. By Thursday her patience has run out. She flings back the covers, fed up to the full, and demands to know: “Again?!?”

Her annoyance amuses me, especially since she actually loves school when she’s there. It’s the getting there–and all that comes with it–that bothers her. The getting up, getting ready, getting denied the freedom to spend her day how she chooses, getting the task of bringing home work; work that she must get done.

She’d love to read as well as her siblings, make friends of her own, have her name on awards, have her great-grandma send her a dollar for each A. She sees what the twins have accomplished and she wants the same; she’d just rather skip over the journey and land at the destination.

I sympathize with her because I know what that feels like. I enjoy knowing I’ve done a job well. I just don’t always enjoy doing the job. Or I might like being in the midst of a good work, but I resist the need to get it started or experience pessimism before it’s finished.

Perhaps it’s the resentment of obligation, or the loss of freedom, or the overwhelming scope of the task that makes the individual steps seem insufficient, or maybe it’s a combination of those things. The Good Work seems so elusive that we lose faith in the constant work–the again, and again, and yet again work–it takes to get there.

Natural intelligence, which my daughter has, and the natural talent that so many of us possess is not enough in itself to get us where God wants us to go. We must work hard with diligence and patience, building on the unique gifts God created in us.

And we know by God’s promises that our work will be rewarded and our lives fruitful, if we couple our faith with works, and persevere in the labor He has given us to do on the journey He has called us to take.

3 responses to “The Labor of the Journey”

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