Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Doing your duty

On Saturday, I went to an association meeting (an annual event for those who have taken Christian Science class instruction), and the ideas flowed over non-stop. I'll be sharing some of what meant the most to me here over the next several days.

The opening discussion included the concept of duty. Like many others, I imagine, I'd always thought duty to be arduous, a chore, actual work—something I had to force myself to do. If I were virtuous enough, I'd do my duty without complaint, but it unless it felt like something I'd rather not be doing, it wouldn't truly be doing my duty.

Here's a definition from a very handy online 1828 Webster's Dictionary:

Duty: that which a person owes to another; that which a person is bound, by any natural, moral or legal obligation, to pay, do or perform.

Another definition online reads:

Duty: a moral compulsion for ethical action that is innate.

The discussion on Saturday included the ideas that a true duty can be thought of as fueled by love. It's a native expression of our own purpose. It's not, then, foreign to us, but totally natural. Hence, it's not a chore or a burden. It's Love in action.

This struck me in the context of the one thing I would consider in my life where I've fulfilled my duty, and that's in raising my children. It never felt like duty when I was doing it, however. I just did what I needed to do because I love them. Afterward, I look back and go, Wow, how did I do that? But while it's going on, it's not a burden. It might be tough, but it's not something I would ever turn from.

So when I think of all those we might consider who do their duty without question, i.e., soldiers, firefighters, police officers, teachers, pilots, it enlarges my gratitude for what they do when I remember that their fulfillment of their duty is an expression of Love. Not so much love of what they need to do, but love of their fellow beings.

It's also making me a hair more willing to do what I need to do. When I remember that I'm acting out of love, it's less about imposing my will and more about coming together with others to share ideas and make something better as a team.

Duty = Love. I think I can do my duty today.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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