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Lately there's been a lot of press about how our food gets to our tables. We're encouraged to think about the life of the chicken or cow before it shows up as lunch or dinner. Was the chicken raised in a crate or the cow confined to a stall all of its life? There's a new connection being made between the quality of life of the animal before its slaughter and our own quality of life, one that's worth some extra cost and even a little inconvenience.

Which makes me wonder about the toys we buy for Christmas presents, or indeed, any of the mass-produced products which fill myriads of shelves during the holiday season. Under what conditions are these items produced? What is the quality of life of the person on the line, looking at day after day of putting the same piece on a doll or tape recorder, and then passing it along?

These aren't earth-breaking thoughts; people have been writing, making movies, protesting, trying to enact legislation around these issues for quite some time. In fact, since the dawn of the age of industrialization there has been a critique of the human cost of mass production. What got me thinking this morning came from more personal reflections.
 
I feel like I am waiting for a certain type of energy to return, the energy that allows me to be the "productive person" that I once used to be. The sort who would have a million projects going at once, pride herself on the amount of things accomplished in a week, love the adrenalin rush of completion under deadlines. The only problem was that I had to become a machine in order to keep up with my self-imposed quota. And I did so at the cost of being a true human being. Like Dr. Faustus, I "sold my soul" to the devil of accomplishment and reaped the reward of the bargain.

Thankfully, my body rebelled. It crashed and burned (an early "hell"), setting me on a course that has been years in the making. I've had to relearn what it means to live a life that's as human as it can be - a life that is full and healthy on all levels, spiritual, physical, mental and emotional, and that has appropriate times of action and reflection. I'm starting to realize that if I live into the fullness of God's tri-fold love: giving-love, enjoying-love and creating-love, my desire for productivity will be appropriately met. God, out of love, desires to create with me. And in the generosity and wisdom of His love, not only will He determine the pace, but He will provide the raw materials for the creativity. Best of all, at the end of the day, He will set aside the time to enjoy the finished product. We'll kick back, put our feet up, grab a cup of whatever brew you prefer, and smile with delight at the fruits of our labor.