An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
I have an unnatural tendency to be lazy. I say unnatural as opposed to natural because consensus or existence since birth doesn't REALLY mean it is natural. We must constantly rethink the term.
And as one inclined toward laziness, I frequently get jobs barely done and proclaim the however-ill-completed task: "good enough." Sometimes I'll also tag on this: "...for government work" as if this should make me feel better about it.
This laziness spills over into pretty much all areas of my life. Regular maintenance of the house/farm, special projects (of which there are many), my prayers, my writing, my work in the lab, the raising of my kids, etc etc. Whatever happened to the good old American work ethic that says: "If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing right."
"Just getting by" or "good enough" might be fine sometimes if the world were as secularists would have us believe, but since the world is in fact full of meaning I think I ought to make the extra effort to do things well. Why, you ask? Besides the common and practical sense of doing something in a manner that will preclude you from having to do it again in a few days, how about also for the sake of beauty?
Beauty doesn't just happen by accident. At the very least it requires profound appreciation and at the very most it requires complete self-sacrifice. A broad spectrum that always requires some form of human effort. Without us, beauty is as meaningless as secularism demands the world must be. I suggest we manifest beauty when we take the time and effort to do things right...or do them well. No matter what that may be.
Case and point: Church music. Why work so hard to make it sound good? Is it to please the ears of the parishioners? Is it to foster an environment that will "work" for people in their worship experience? Is it to bring people into some sort of an emotional crescendo? Is it to impress the musically inclined? Perhaps become so well tuned as to garner a recording contract with Conciliar Press? (Banish the thought!) Surely then it is to attract people into regular attendance? No, none of this.
It is because we perceive the goodness and beauty of doing things right and well. When done right, it manifests beauty. As surely as a child would yearn to please his parents with a well done piano recital, so also do we wish to show forth the beauty endowed within us from and to our Heavenly Father. Offering Praise and Glory, what better task to seek to do well; beautifully?
And really, what work in our lives ought not to be done with the same devotion, care, and commitment to doing it correctly and well? Might I suggest if you determine there is such a task, that you might consider whether it is really worth doing to begin with?
Boy, do I need to take these thoughts and apply them.
As one who is blessed to sing in a prayerful and gloriously beautiful choir, honestly through no effort of my own, it is because this is our offering unto God. It is a ministry and we must give only our best to God.