“Indeed friends seem to become better by working together…”
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
There is something about good, hard work. You feel so alive, so purposeful. And when you work alongside people you love, you feel so alive and so purposeful together.
We do not always get to work alongside our friends and loved ones; it is something worth seeking out.
This past week we slaughtered two pigs here at our homestead. It took a tremendous amount of work, as it always does. I have had the honor and the joy through the years of slaughtering pigs with a number of different people.
I have a white-oak butcher board that I glued together for our first slaughter. Each year all who join in the work sign it. I love looking at those signatures, thinking of people, and of work, that won’t be forgotten.
Some aspects of work are painful, and are simply to be endured. And sometimes in our work we fail to be ourselves. But at the same time work has a unique power to forge a bond that cannot otherwise be forged: between family members, between neighbors, and between friends.
There are many different kinds of good work, some done more with our hands and some more with our minds. Blessings each. Working together can actually deepen friendship, precisely because it gives a unique context to do what friendship is most about: intentionally pursuing what is good, together.
So whether it is for nourishing our families with food, or for attending to a host of other human needs, may our work at least sometimes be a working-with those we love, and so be a way we grow closer to them as we grow into ourselves.
~ ~ ~
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), student of Plato, tutor of Alexander the Great, has been considered by many to be the greatest ancient philosopher. The Nicomachean Ethics is his major ethical work.
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