I was sitting in a window booth at McDonald’s this morning eating an Egg McMuffin and drinking my coffee (because that’s what I do after a rather rocky morning with a teenage girl) and I saw a car pull through the drive thru with the specialized license plate “MED8TR.” Because I have a thing about reading specialized license plates (actually I read all license plates as though they are specialized… until I realize that they’re not…) I sounded out the mixture of cleverly arranged letters and the one number to form the word “mediator.” Aren’t I smart that way?
Then I said aloud for everyone to hear me, “No way!”
I looked at the poor woman in the car driving by and pitied her. Whether she’s a court appointed mediator, a business mediator or just the one in her large, dysfunctional family who gets the honor of sorting out everyone else’s dirty laundry, she obviously likes her role as go-between. That’s why she paid the extra $$$ to have it put on her plate. If I had a job as a mediator, I wouldn’t tell anyone for fear that random people would just randomly walk up with random problems and expect me to help.
Talking to my Licensed Christian Counselor friend on the phone later, I told her about the license plate and my reaction to it. “I would hate being a mediator of any kind!” I spouted, only to then realize I’d just insulted her profession. “Oh, I guess that’s kind of what you do, huh?”
“Yeah,” she laughed. “But if someone asked me to sit down and write even one article or especially a whole Bible study I’d ask if I could have my wrist slit instead.” Touche.
My friend went on to say why she likes mediating between frustrated parents and their frustrating teens , warring spouses, and blended family members. She said, “To be real honest, it’s a real high for me. I get a real charge out of helping others work their way to solutions.”
Personally I get a real high out of other people figuring out solutions to their problems too. The problem is I don’t want to mediate; I just want to tell them what to do and them go do it. My counselor friend told me in no uncertain terms why that is not a good idea and we moved on to other things like the price of swimsuits, my procrastinating daughter, and the number of calories in an Egg McMuffin.
But that got me to thinking. Isn’t it interesting how we all enjoy doing different kinds of work? I’m not talking about pastimes and hobbies and recreation. Those things are generally intrinsically fun because, well, because they’re fun. But work is a different matter.
We have to work to get things done. We have to work to help others get things done. We have to work to earn a living. Work is just kind of a “have to” type of thing. And yet, God designed work initially to be fulfilling, enjoyable, and purposeful. Later on, as part of the penalty for that initial sin in the Garden, work became hard, laborious, frustrating, and toilsome. But it still had purpose.
So if there is work that has to be done, isn’t it pretty nifty when the person doing that job actually likes what they’re doing? And isn’t it pretty splendid when you get to be that person doing work that you actually “get a high” from? And isn’t it even a blessing to you when you get to see someone else enjoying the work of their hands? “MED8TR”? You go girl! You and Kim go mediate and I’ll go edit and the world will be a better place and we’ll all get high! No, no… I’m getting a little carried away. We’ll just have a good time. 🙂
Do you enjoy your work? I hope so. I have to add at this point that I’ve also done plenty of work that I didn’t particularly enjoy but that God had me doing for seasons of my life. Making paper flowers at Six Flags got old quickly, I had to really search hard for the joy when I was writing technical manuals, and cleaning toilets is still a challenge. But when my attitude was right and I was aiming to please my God, I’ve been able to get a kick out of even those sorts of jobs. Still, nothing compares to getting to do the work that you feel you were created for…
I’d love to know what work you enjoy and exactly why it is your groove thing. And I promise not to scoff at it the way I initially did the MED8TR. And if you have to do work today that you don’t particularly enjoy, you can share that with us to. We’ve all been there. I probably need to scrub a few toilets myself today.
And if you need a mediator, she’s in a blue Chevy Cobalt with an Arizona license plate that reads….well you know that part.
*** Disclaimer – I don’t know exactly why I seem to be in this sort of 70s funk today with words like groove thing. I think it all started when my friend mentioned getting a high out of her work. And, by the way, she’s going to kill me for disclosing that piece of info, but by the time I wrote this I was so into the 70s mood that it just really fit and …. At any rate, please know that my friend, the Christian Counselor, is very professional, doesn’t smoke weed, and has never been high, except in a good way 🙂