Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why I Love My Job

I've been writing my dissertation--an in-depth look at the way Eden was portrayed and thought about in colonial New England--all summer. Typically I disappear in my office at 8:30 AM and don't reappear until 4:30 PM. Every once in a while my wife, Alana, will peek into the room to make sure that I'm staying on track--she feels cheated if I am not working while she is, and rightly so.

Well, when she walked in last week, she was sure that she had caught me pursuing extracurricular interests--probably thought that I was reading Nibley or someone similar, because I was typing under the following subtitle

Entering The Temple: Two Pathways to Paradisiacal Purity

Alana was sure that I was thinking and writing about Mormon temples, but I was actually discussing a poem written by George Herbert and published in his volume The Temple (1633). The temple was a place that Herbert connected with Eden, and one of the poems in it is "Paradise."

Paradise

I bless thee, Lord, because I GROW
Among thy trees, which in a ROW
To thee both fruit and order OW.

What open force, or hidden CHARM
Can blast my fruit, or bring me HARM,
While the inclosure is thine ARM?

Inclose me still for fear I START
Be to me rather sharp and TART,
Than let me want thy hand and ART.

When thou dost greater judgments SPARE,
And with thy knife but prune and PARE,
Ev’n fruitful trees more fruitful ARE.

Such sharpness shows the sweetest FREND:
Such cutting rather heal than REND:
And such beginnings touch their END.

It's a lovely poem, not least because it illustrates so beautifully the truth that we must all be refined and molded while here in mortality--a process that can hurt! Herbert illustrates this systematic pruning with his end rhymes, and each of those rhymes follows a progression, from something positive (FREND) to something negative (REND) to something neutral (END). We must recognize that God sends both the good and the bad in our lives, and that both types of experience help to purge off the dross, as it were, to refine our spirits and souls so that we can reach our eternal end.

I love my job for any number of reasons, not least of which because I can go to The Temple on the clock. Jealous?

3 comments:

Jenny said...

Not jealous.
But I commend you.
I can go to the temple whenever I want as well; but do I realize it and take advantage of it as often as I should?...
I, too, get paid for it.

Becky said...

So glad you love your job. What does 'on the clock' mean? I'm confused...

shirlgirl said...

Glad you can get your work done in the "office". Nice post. It's always great to love what you do.