My dad has worked on commission for the majority of his life. Years back, when I first entered into the world of freelance work (read: paycheck to paycheck) I had a visceral reaction. I still remember how tense my body got realizing how fragile my financial survival was. It seemed that so many variables had to line up just right for me to land a gig, feel good about work, and actually get paid. It was scary.
So, I began to work towards stability. I started to think of the most stable models for the work I do, the areas in which resources seemed to be abundant, and my own positioning in the market. The journey has been interesting, and I’ve learned a lot.
Of all the things I’ve learned the biggest lesson is this: Stability is an illusion.
As many of us have discovered, our entire world can shift in what seems like an instant. We can work as hard as we can in a specific direction and then forces beyond our control can shift our context. Just ask anyone who has lived a life exposed to the elements. I’m not just talking about nature here, but the forces of the market, politics, social pressures, etc. We all are being acted upon. “Easy lives” are those that are shielded from these forces. “Hard lives” are ones that have had to develop the strength to survive while living in resistance to these forces.
There isn’t a single solution for dealing with the forces here. Too many different lives being lived to say one thing will solve this. What I have come to know is that, while stability is an illusion, peace is not. I’m talking about the kind of peace that allows us strength, and resilience, and thoughtfulness, and clarity, and wisdom, in the midst of chaos. For individuals and communities. There are those who we think might be living an easy life that lack this kind of peace. There are those who we see living the hard life that have an abundance of it.
I should say that this isn’t escapist either. It’s not peace, while running away from reality. It’s peace born of trust. Trust in Love. That Love provides, guides, cares, and acts for the sake of Love. Love that allows us to be wrapped up in it, more than we are wrapped up in the inherent hardness of this world.