I find myself, for reasons beyond my control, in work after midnight on a Monday. People on shift are surprised at my lack of emotion at this circumstance… and yet, to me it comes down to two things: 1) (and maybe most important) I know I can come in late tomorrow to make up for this and 2) my work is part of my devotional activities to Brigid. It’s a damn site easier to be sitting staring at an excel spreadsheet at this hour of the night when I remind myself that just by being an engineer, I’m working for her.
How do I come by this? Well working as an engineer is reasonably close in my mind to working in a forge. Indeed I started my career in a steelworks, long before I thought work working for/with Brigid (which preposition is used is probably dependent on which of us you ask!) Since I hit secondary school, I was aiming towards engineering, so the career wasn’t a shock. What was a shock was when I started working with the deity in question and found out that this was all part of the plan as far as she was concerned. I should note this is personal gnosis here, indeed this whole post is, but it agrees with some other peoples’ experiences as well.
Why does it make it easier? Well it doesn’t always, if I’m honest. There are days I think that even if being a teacher is difficult (both parents and my husband are teachers!), at least there’s those holidays… I know fine and well that the good teachers are upskilling and planning during those holidays, but still, there are times… But realistically, I’m not cut out to be a teacher. Too much swearing for a start. And I love being an engineer. I love the problem solving, the interaction with people and machines, the satisfaction of being able to turn around at the end of a project and say, “There, that’s what I achieved”. There are plenty of other professions that allow you to do this of course, but engineering has always called to me, even if when I made my career choice, I didn’t know the jobs I spent my career doing existed. Who knew yI could spend a few hours in the middle of a night changing a filter on an oil reclamation system, end up with skinned knuckles, bruised arms, pure exhaustion, but an absolutely intense feeling of satisfaction? Who knew I would spend 3 days straight in work, catching cat naps as I could, sorting out a chemical balancing issues, then head to bed for 10hrs before coming back in again?
Knowing that I can please myself as well as my deity is a huge thing. Knowing at least ONE being on this planet sees my work as valuable, even if that person isn’t me on the bad days, is a huge thing. Knowing when things are bad, and I can’t see the point, that I don’t really need to see the point right now, but that my work is serving some purpose, somewhere, is a huge thing. It helps me get out of bed on mornings when I know it’s going to be a tough day. It helps me on nights like tonight when I know I’m here for another 3 hrs at least, with a pile of problems facing me in the morning, whether I’m here or not. Because it’s not about me right now. It’s about showing up, doing the work, and getting on with it. Because it’s an act of devotion to do it. And I may grumble (and I will!), I may moan, I may play a major sympathy card when I get home tomorrow and see my husband, but I know I’m doing the work.
It’s easy to look at lighting a candle as the only act of devotion. It’s easy to think a regular prayer practice, or meditation practice is all that’s needed. And for some people, that is all that’s needed. (Lucky them!) Others are called to do other work. Some people write amazing poetry (ahem, go check out Mael Brigde’s work if you don’t believe me: http://stonebelly.blogspot.com/ ) Some people work in the community. Some people are teachers, artists, activists. And some of us just do our work and keep going. It’s not always glamorous or intriguing. Sometimes it’s the daily grind and that’s it. Because that’s what’s needed. And, those of ye who also work with/for her, already know this – she’s a very pragmatic individual. I blame her Da really…
Acts of devotion are very often this: the things that just need to get done. They’re not fancy, or pretty, or they don’t get praise or attention from other people. But they’re needed. And if not you, who?