Delight is a noun, sure—it’s a feeling of joy, often unexpected pleasure—but it’s also a verb, and that’s my favorite use of it. To be delighted is to be happily surprised (or simply to be happy); to delight is to bring that sort of unanticipated joy to someone else. The word delight evokes an image of splashing gleefully in water (a puddle, a pool, a lake, a child’s bubblebath, you name it) in my head. It’s laugh-out-loud jollity.
Doing the Work is a common phrase used to indicate doing the hands-on, occasionally tedious work that is related to or directly causes a sense of personal and/or spiritual fulfillment. I’ve seen it used by creative individuals in regards to their chosen art; I’ve seen it used by pagans in regards to their chosen deities and spirits which they serve. I use it here in both ways, where the Work is capitalized because it is vital, life-giving, and of utmost import on an individual basis. My art is my Work. Walking my spiritual path is also my Work.
What I’ve noticed, though, is that doing the Work can often seem joyless. Some days the magic and novelty are nowhere to be seen, leaving me going through the motions. There can be a personal satisfaction in pushing through the doldrums, and sometimes, quite frankly, my goals require that I trudge through in order to walk the full length of my path. But there’s little benefit in going beyond that enduring doggedness into outright self-draining blindness. As with everything, here we need balance, too.
I was raised on the value of hard work and of enduring hardship, but I taught myself the value of joy and of self-fulfillment. They are complementary, and when well-married, they are far stronger together than either can be apart. Yes, sometimes, doing the Work is not particularly fun or enlivening or enlightening. Yes, sometimes, experiencing delight means setting aside the Work in order to free oneself up and make space for joy.
But I think the common belief that one can only have delight or productivity, but never both, is a fallacy. I believe that one can find delight in the everyday actions that often constitute doing the Work. Perhaps delight is not so near the surface when the furrows are deeply ingrained with the repetition of the Work, but I am not afraid to dig for those gems any more than I’m afraid to do the Work itself.
At the end of the day, I want to have accomplished something, and I want to have enjoyed the accomplishing. For myself, I see little point in doing all the things without any joy—or enjoying myself to the exclusion of my own chosen goals.
Ptah is the god Who embodies this concept for me. He is the Maker, the Builder, the Creator Who spoke the world into existence—and He is the one Who crafts with His hands and is patron to artisans, craftsmen, and other hands-on makers. He does not toil; He works, and He exudes quiet joy in the rhythm of His exertions.
If I can manifest even a fraction of that patience-and-delight while I do my own work, I will be satisfied.