Find joy in work and work won't be drudgery

Columnist Mark Nuehring says work can nourish our soul, if given a chance.

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Recently, I had conversations with two people who both shared they had retirement clocks set on their phone.

One told me she was 2 years 9 months and 14 days away from retirement, but the other said he was 6 years 11 months and 3 days away.

I can understand the first person, but to actually have your retirement scheduled almost 7 years, to the day, away seems a little weird. This person actually said he was greatly looking forward to retirement, but said the only problem is that he will also be 6 years, 11 months and 3 days older when he retires.

That last line made me laugh. He was right. We all have these visions of what we will be doing in our retirement, but what we often forget to think about is that our body will be that much older then, too.

Then, a few days later, I stopped at a big box hardware store and a 73-year-old employee shared with me that he was switching to full-time the following week and he was looking forward to it.


He shared he has been married 53 years, has retired from two previous jobs, but wants to work because he loves people and the sense of purpose it gives him.

Two completely different understandings of work.

We often see work as something we have to do in order to put food on the table and a roof over our head, but work can bring us joy and a sense of purpose. Work can nourish our soul, if given a chance.

Ignatius of Loyola, a famous Saint, is attributed with saying, “pray as if everything depends on God, work as if everything depends on you.” I have always loved that prayer.

I wonder if that is the issue with my first two friends?

I wonder if we would all pray everyday before work, would that help our perspective on work?

We are all blessed to have the jobs we do. We are blessed to be able to make a difference in the world with our own little specialty.

When we pray daily, we are encouraged to see the “good” in the world and treat people like we would want to be treated.


We are challenged to be as compassionate to others as we are to our family. We are challenged to be the hands and feet of Christ in a world desperate for hope and love.

Work doesn’t have to be drudgery.

If a 73-year-old man can see the joy in work, why can’t we?

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Mark Nuehring is director of faith formation at Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Rochester. "From the Pulpit" features reflections from area religious leaders.

From the Pulpit" features reflections from area religious leaders. To contribute, email us at with "From the Pulpit" in the subject line.

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