One of my favourite quotes from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran concerns work. He wrote:
"And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. ...
Work is love made visible."
In our complex 21st century society, we tend to buy most of our possessions from shops, which have in turn been supplied by factories, which mass-produce thousands of x and millions of y. So it is always a treat to buy something that has been made by a pair of human hands, with care and affection. This week I bought a simple wooden bowl, which had been hand-turned by a local artist. And it is beautiful. And more precious, because it was made with that care and affection.
I have also just finished crocheting an afghan blanket for my daughter, and was reminded of the quote from The Lord Of The Rings, when the Lothlorien Elves say to Pippin (about the elven cloaks): "We put the thought of all that we love into all that we make." I have certainly crocheted it with love, thinking about my daughter a lot as I made it.
But the same attitude can be brought to any task undertaken by humankind. It can be done carelessly, hastily, in a slipshod fashion, with no care for the outcome. Or it can be done with love and attention, for the sake of the work itself, and for the pride of creation and the joy of creativity. And that is good.