Friday, October 30, 2009

Joy of the Day--Enthusiasm

Many years ago while driving on I-15 the warning light on my car suddenly glared at me and the car started growling angry noises. I pulled off the freeway at the next exit and as luck would have it there was an automotive shop just a way down the frontage road. I pulled in and a young man leaped out of the bay to greet me. “How can I help you?” he asked. I explained, and he took over while I sat on a chair and watched. He and another mechanic were the only employees present, but they both dropped what they were doing and began examining my car with such enthusiasm it was apparent they were delighted at the challenge of finding and fixing another motor problem.

For the next hour, I watched as they went about their work. Was I bored? No way! They were so excited and obviously loved their work so much that it was sheer delight to watch them. Since that day I’ve watched a lot of people work hoping to find that same kind of enthusiasm. It is rare, but it is worth it when you find it. People who love what they are doing are so happy and their happiness and enthusiasm is always contagious. I walk away from them wanting to be a happier, better person.

The word enthusiasm has an interesting history. Originally it came from the Greek words en and theos which mean “in god” and in its verb form meant “inspired or possessed by a god.” From there it passed from Latin and French into the English with the sense of “divine inspiration.” During the Puritan era it took on a derogatory meaning of “excessive religious emotion.” But the modern meaning of “eagerness” has displaced the negative meaning so that it now describes those young auto mechanics in a very positive way. They were inspired and possessed by goodness and joy and love.

I learned a lot that day that I have never forgotten. Each of us is daily faced with the choice of whether we will simply do what needs to be done, or whether we will do what needs to be done with enthusiasm. I’m voting for enthusiasm!

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dani said...

This was so refreshing to read! I love watching enthusiasm! And I love it when I have enthusiasm in my own life! I also love it when people are friendly with enthusiasm, and I know people really respond when I am friendly with enthusiasm and have commented about my 'light' when I am. I am not that way all of the time, but I do bless the lives of others when I am!

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Dani, I agree. Nothing is so invigorating as to be greeted by someone enthusiastically.