Although the museum was filled with gorgeous art, it also contained one of my least favorite things — shoving rude tourists. I approached the bored security guard who immediately sized me up as a middle-aged woman and automatically pointed towards the ladies’ room, but instead of following his directions, I used my terrible French and asked if he’d ever had the chance to be alone in the room.
Surprised by my question, the man in his early 30’s took a moment, slowly grinned and said in equally terrible English, “Yes, sometimes I arrive early in the morning and stand with self — alone with her.” He pointed to a spot in front of the Mona Lisa while he took another deep breath. “It is the favorite — good — best part of my job.”
The “favorite, good, best” part of a job is what we all want to find in life. Daily drudgery, endless boredom and low pay can somehow all be worth it if there is a moment of glory when everything comes together and we can say, “ah . . . this is why I do this every day.”
A young mother drags through hour after hour of reading books, wiping sticky fingerprints off the furniture and changing diapers only to have a chubby face press a warm kiss on her cheek by the glow of a Thomas the Tank Engine nightlight. That’s when she feels like she’s alone with a masterpiece.
After laying the bricks on a building, the brick mason walks by months later with his father and swells with pride when he’s told what a good job he’s done. “Almost as good as my work when I was your age,” his dad laughs, which makes his son forget the long hot days of work and instead basks in the glow of his dad’s approval.
Clearing an innocent person of a crime, managing a store, operating heavy equipment or performing music, every single job should have a moment that makes us feel like we’re releasing goodness into the world.
We want every job to have a larger purpose. If you love the thought of educating children, you often become a teacher, but those who cook in the hot lunchroom or clean the classrooms or answer the office phones are also contributing to the overall growth of little minds. So yes, there really is a beautiful purpose in those delicious smelling rolls in the cafeteria and love and encouragement can be reflected in the shiny floors.