This past summer Matthew Clark and a group of our friends conspired to surprise me with something I have never received before – a song custom written for me! Words fail to describe how astonished I was when they presented it, or how humbled I still feel every time I play this.
The significance of this phrase – This is the work – stems from a pivotal conversation had a few years ago between me and my two writing companions. At that point, we met together every few months for 3-5 day blocks (which we called Summit) to work on our respective writing projects. Beneath that fundamental purpose though, we also met for nurture and friendship. During one of those precious Summits, one of them had a difficult emotional reaction to recent hurts and apologized for “distracting” us from the work we were there to do. I remember that moment still as vividly as if it happened last weekend. Before I knew it almost, I replied that it wasn’t a distraction from the work we were there to do, but that “This is the work.” Mending the hurts is a labour of the Lord’s great restoration in this world and we are invited into that great labour. It is grace. It is the great, abiding artwork in which we will each participate or forsake for lesser works.
That conversation in my kitchen changed the way I see all our creative works and the purpose of our lives. It changed in a single moment the way I see the purpose of my own life. I look at that phrase every day as those words sit on my desk right above my monitor. They remind me that the work of restoration and the cultivation of well loved relationships is the great work and any other work I do must ever and always serve that one first.
This is the Work
Lancia E. Smith is an author, photographer, teacher, and business owner based in Colorado. She is editor-in-chief of the online quarterly magazine Cultivating the Good, True, & Beautiful, and is founder of The Cultivating Project, a discipling initiative for Christians engaged in the arts. A grateful lover of the Triune God, Lancia is passionate about the spiritual formation and discipling creative believers. She and her husband Peter run a thriving environmental and engineering firm and try to keep up with their rambling house and gardens called House on the Way. Lancia loves nearly every book she ever read by C.S. Lewis; drinks strong black coffee with whipped coconut oil and cinnamon; and sincerely hopes in her lifetime to reach zero in her inbox!