“My fight for sculpture uses up all of my time and strength, and even then I lose.”
–Auguste Rodin

I often converse with people who are trying to bring God, for lack of a better term, into their money lives.

Most of these people were traumatized somehow as children. Many are so paralyzed by perfectionism that even well into their 40s, 50s and even 60s, their lives and capacity to earn have never quite gotten off the ground.

Sometimes they’ll say things with a refreshing take. “Do a B+ job.” “Mediocre makes money.” “Easy, fun and done!”

I got what those kinds of remarks are aiming at. Give yourself a break. Let go of the idea that your best isn’t good enough, that you have to earn love, that you’re never allowed to relax.

On the other hand–maybe it’s my Yankee unbringing, the fact that my roots are blue-collar, or (more likely) a vast overestimation of the amount of work I do myself, and the amount of effort I put into it.

But though I get doing a B+ (or worse) job for everything else, when it comes to art I do feel we’re conscience-bound to at least strive to do the very best job we can–whether we stand to make money from it or not.

That the results are almost invariably mediocre (I speak for myself) is part of the cross. But to be content with mediocre–that I can’t see.

“My yoke is easy, my burden light”–but take it up, though you’ll often look like an ass carrying it.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” said St. Paul [2 Tim. 4:7].

Today is the memorial of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), who died August 9, 1942, in Auschwitz. Today also marks the death of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, beheaded for his refusal–against the advice of fellow parishioners, parish priests and bishops– to serve in the Nazi army.

I can’t help thinking–hoping–that they both had this “slogan” in mind as they went to their deaths:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” [Matthew 6:19-21].


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