Interdependence

Interdependence

My 15-year-old son is learning to drive.

He was behind the wheel as we headed down a ramp into a divided highway.

“Alright, what’s coming up at the bottom of the ramp?” I asked.

“The highway.”

“Before that?”

“The acceleration lane. I know, dad. I have to get my speed up.” (We’ve been working on that.)

“Yes. You have an obligation to help out the other drivers by safely getting on the highway … without getting in their way. It’s an interdependent thing. They’re counting on you. Just like our responsibility on an undivided highway. In fact, driving on an undivided highway … probably one of the most interdependent things there is in driving.”

About a minute passed.

“What do you think the most interdependent thing is in life?” he asked. (His dad’s a motivational speaker Flushed face emoji)

interdependent (adj.): mutually dependent; depending on each other

I thought about it for maybe 10 seconds and said, “I think it’s our work.”

Cold? I don’t think so. I’ve had some time with my answer and I still fall to work because I believe in Kahlil Gibran’s thought that “Work is love made visible” (a thought from his 1923 book, The Prophet).

8 simple ways to bring love to work. Watch the video.

I really believe that if more of us consistently reminded ourselves (and each other) of that idea before we jumped into our daily work and human interactions … mmmmm … heaven on earth.

A start-of-the-day affirmation is probably an easy commitment for most of us to make. But, what if we could push it to an hourly thing … reminding ourselves hourly to love people through our work and our professional interactions (to Smile & Move)? Wouldn’t that better our chances for a more enjoyable day? Wouldn’t it bleed into our personal lives too? And then back again?

But that can get tough as the day goes on, right?

A challenge or two pops up … a few indifferent responses … a couple nasty interactions and we move from caring about making our love visible to just trying to make it home without too much more pain. Like a glassy morning lake chopped up by noon from all the powerboats and jet skis… it’s just no longer pretty.

Drawn calm lakeSo what do we do? How do we get back to making our love visible when things get choppy?

Here’s what’s helpful to me. I remind myself I’m entitled to nothing and I’m lucky to be here.

And then, I give myself back to the work and the people I do it with and for.

And when I find myself back in the chop … I do it again.

Because that’s how we eat.

And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”

– Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), Lebanese-American poet and writer

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