Posted by jlubans on March 10, 2022

Caption: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1721 – 1789) Painting by Anna Rosina de Gasc (Lisiewska)

A VENERABLE old man, despite his years and the heat of the day, was ploughing his field with his own hand, and sowing the grain in the willing earth, in anticipation of the harvest it would produce.
Suddenly beneath the deep shadow of a spreading oak, a divine apparition stood before him!
The old man was seized with affright.
"I am Solomon," said the phantom encouragingly. "What dost thou here, old friend?"
"If thou art Solomon," said the owner of the field, "how canst thou ask?
In my youth I learnt from the ant to be industrious and to accumulate wealth.
That which I then learnt I now practise."
“Thou hast learnt but the half of thy lesson," pursued the spirit.
"Go once more to the ant, and she will teach thee to rest in the winter of thy existence, and enjoy what thou hast earned."

While work is noble and fulfilling, there comes a time to knock off.
According to Solomon, there’s a time to “savor the flavor” of accomplishment and “enjoy what thou hast earned.”
For me, this is not only about taking a well-earned break or a vacation to a foreign clime but barring travel, simply sitting down and going over what you’ve done. Reflecting on the other “half of thy lesson”.
If you can stop and reflect, good on you.
If you cannot, make an appointment with yourself – yes, a real scheduled appointment: date, time and place - to think about what you are doing and why.
If you have a trusted friend, that person can help guide you. Do this out-of-doors – no phone or watch.
Questions for yourself:
What’s gone really well?
What are you avoiding?
Continue avoiding or stop procrastinating? If the latter, what’s the first step?
Or, getting back to the old farmer, is what we do, however exalted we might think it, really “Just a job”?
A friend used that deflating phrase when I groused about how we old-timers in the profession were soon forgotten, in some cases put out to pasture without recognition for a job well done.
Solomon doesn’t think so.
Maybe if we looked back on challenges and accomplishments on a regular basis we’d realize an inner contentment and not keep grinding away.

*SOURCE: Lessing, Fables, Book III, No. 3. Translated by G. Moir Bussey.Excerpted From: Cooper, Frederic Taber, 1864-1937. “An argosy of fables; a representative selection from the fable literature of every age and land.” New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. 1921.
As you might guess, there is/was a rock band called Solomon’s Ghost. They play(ed) metal out of Statesboro, Georgia, USA. Facebook offers a link to one of their albums, screeching and clashing with occasional jangled nerve soothing interludes.


And, don’t forget Lubans' book on democratic workplaces, Leading from the Middle

© Copyright text by John Lubans 2022

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