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The Brown Sugar Bear

Several years ago, I purchased a “brown sugar bear.” For those unfamiliar, it’s a small clay-shaped bear (or other animal, I suppose) that is designed to keep the moisture in a container/bag of brown sugar so it doesn’t clump up or get hard. I was ecstatic to drop him atop a rock of brown sugar that was rigidly sitting in a container, shaped just like the plastic bag I had dumped it out of.


He’s not taking his job seriously, I joked, sending a friend a picture of my bear perched upon the sugar.


The next morning, when I went to check my new sous-chef, I was amazed to find the sugar had softened. I called my friend, Turns out he just works the night shift. Who knew!


As I thought about my brown sugar bear and this silly idea of him behaving like a Toy Story character, I began to find perhaps a deeper explanation.


Maybe everyone just works a little differently. I thought he was sleeping, but it turns out he was actually working really hard.


It can be easy (and tempting) to gloss over the work of those around us or to think that we are the only ones putting in any effort—whether for a job, a project, a relationship, or otherwise. What if instead, we chose to see that not everyone works the same.


Chances are there’s a lot of behind the scenes effort that you aren’t seeing. Rather than complaining or holding resentment, trust that “work” comes in many forms… and you might not be seeing the whole picture, the whole shift, the whole job.

Love always,

Liz