What’s Labor?

Posted by Rod Jones on


What’s Labor? Labor ain't child's play is one of the most common answers you get when you ask the question, what's labor? None of us make it through life without experiencing labor. Physical labor can be dull, unpleasant, and bring on a whole lot of aches, pains, and sweat. But there is another kind of labor that virtually everyone experiences but rarely defines, and that is thought labor. Is there such a thing as labor in the mind, yes indeed.


The labor of thought. When you face a problem what is the first thing you try and do? Most of us try to think our way out of the problem, and success in that area is not always measurable. A smartie sage once said, "Give me a problem, and I will solve it, in time…no matter how long it takes." Most of us can solve simple problems in a relatively short time. More complex problems require oodles of laborious thought. This kind of arduous thinking can be exhausting. Why? Because it saps energy and perhaps more importantly it creates anxiety which saps even more energy.


There have been many men and women of great accomplishment that when all was said and done took on the task of manual labor. Winston Churchill is a prime example. He no doubt had massive amounts of stress. But after he left the world stage he derived his greatest pleasure doing masonry work, building rock walls. If you've ever mixed cement and lifted heavy rocks to ensconced them in the perfect position on a wall then you know what physical labor is. Why would he and others later in life choose hard labor? I suspect it was a form of disengagement. When you're doing physical labor to be safe you need to concentrate on what you're doing. No longer can stressful thoughts take over your mind.


The labor of thought from time to time needs to be liberated. Shifted from stressful thoughts to physical labor. It's actually not a new concept. Building something with your hands gives the mind a rest from the cares of the world. Jesus was a carpenter and he certainly understood anxiety and stress. Carpentry requires concentration, physical stamina, and strength. Makes a lot of sense when you think about it.


Labor of love. I would not be writing this, and you would not be reading this, if there wasn't a beginning that started with the labor of love. There is no greater beauty than watching a woman's face when she first holds her newborn child. That should be the perpetual answer to what's labor.


"My jumbled thoughts needed to escape from my mind. I opened the trapdoor and they were gone." Rod Jones Artist-Writer 

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