Worthwhile Work

October 31 2020

Two quotes from a novel written in 1871 seem particularly apposite:

You must have a pride in your own work and in learning to do it well, and not be always saying ‘There’s this and there’s that – if I had this or that to do, I might make something of it.’ No matter what a man is – I wouldn’t give twopence for him, whether he was the prime minister or the rick-thatcher – if he didn’t do well what he undertook to do.”

“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

Perhaps after this strange year we might learn to value and reward not just the “stars” and those who shout the loudest about their worth (which owes more to good fortune than they will ever admit, publicly anyway) but also all those doing well every day their unhistoric acts.

And the novel? Well, there’s a riddle to solve during idle lockdown hours.

Photo by Sofia Geada on Unsplash