A Self-Made Man?
Easier than you might think.
Work is the general form of all vocations.
No wonder we revere the “self-made man”. The man who has, through his own labor and will, “made” himself. The grit and perseverance of such a man entices us. He has dignity, and worth. He is, truly, a man.
Yet, when we consider the work of such a man, is it truly one of self-work?
Surely the self-made man doesn’t focus on himself. He didn’t get there by going to the gym. He didn’t get there by reading self-help books, or meditating himself to a state of enlightenment.
No, the self-made man, made other things - he helped others.
He worked for others.
Yet in all of this, how is he self-made? Well, Isaac Newton knew how:
Whenever one object exerts a force on a second object, the second object exerts an equal and opposite force on the first.
(Newton’s Third Law of Motion)
When we work on other things, we are doing work to ourselves. When we plane lumber by hand (action), we strain our muscles, signaling to our body to strengthen those muscles - and we grow stronger (reaction).
We must have things to push against to propel ourselves - we must have work to do in order to work on ourselves. Seriously engaging with our work, the things in front of us and how we can be of service to others, should lead us into sanctification.
P.S. Friends, please enjoy this print from Ade Bethune. Her work is really inspiring to me right now.