I was deeply moved by the book Hidden Figures, being a woman in an engineering discipline. I so appreciated the hard work and obstacles and glass ceilings that these women I never knew faced in their daily lives – and the way they changed the world. Simply by being, doing, working – they set precedent and laid foundations I didn’t know I stood upon. For that I am grateful and that feeling burrowed into my spirit and this poem popped out. I hope you enjoy and keep on making your own difference in the world.
There is truth here, she thinks to herself as she wipes away the sweat that stings her eyes.
If I can uncover it. If I can find it. If I can dig a little deeper.
The earth is tough and hard and thick with its barriers, but also its promises. The work is daunting and daring and calling. Something below the surface is singing.
Beneath the paycheck. Beneath the hours. Beneath the day in and day out.
She hears it. She hears it all the time. When she holds her children to her heart. When she walks the dog. In line at the grocery store. At the gas station. When she lays her head on her pillow and shuts her eyes and in her dreams and when she wakes again.
It is. An Always.
But it is its most beautiful when she digs. Piercing and plying and pushing and piling. She can hear the sound so loud sometimes that she becomes one with it. The work is the rhythm is the melody is the sound is the song is her breath is her being.
And the truth drips from the sweat soaked ends of her hair.
Is it work? What is work?
Is it something to love so profoundly? Is it something to pursue so intently? Something that requires order from the quiet places within you. Proof. With dignity. Passion. With fortitude. Willing. And also Able.
Cape-Able. Unshake- Able.
More than the exchange for next week’s earnings. The benefits left untouched by employment demands. The hours and the miles and the memories and the milestones. These trophies earned placed back in the earth as foundations for another generation coming behind.
Tell them, she says as she pauses a beat in her shoveling, lifting her shining eyes to mine. Tell them it is not work.
It is purpose.