One particular line caught my attention and I couldn't avoid assigning it to my concern for employees in the advertising world:
"When man is no longer able to look beyond his own death and relate himself to what extends beyond the time and space of his life, he loses his desire to create and the excitement of being human."Nouwen isn't saying that people can stop creating, even if they lose the desire. And this isn't about the idea of legacy, which can be convoluted in the mind of the insecure (like me) as the ticket to sticking around forever. It's about recognizing that what we do matters. For good or for ill, it matters. Every action I commit results in some change, either in the world at large or in my own household; either in grand, visible forms or in the mind. Every action, they say, has an equal and opposite reaction, like elementary school teachers who alter the worlds of countless children (despite being largely forgotten).
In other words, every 30 second Hulu commercial, TV commercial, YouTube intro, is an act of creation. Even if it's forgotten in five minutes, it is an action that leads to reactions - to sales, to economic shifts, to artistic twists and digital technology, to discontent and Jones jealousy. And when it is created by the hands of employees who have lost desire and don't care about immortality - or about their neighbor for that matter - those reactions wander into whatever voids will accept them.
So I'll keep watching for workers who have an eagerness and hopefulness beyond pay raises, promotions and the bare need to simply make it through another day. I'll keep watching for workers who see their work as ministry in the immortal sense of the word.