Hard work can defeat happiness
“Omnia vincit labor” is written on the tower of the Krochhaus in Leipzig. Work overcomes everything. In its formal language, the Leipzig building refers to the Torre dell'Orologio on St. Mark's Square in Venice. The merchant city of Leipzig quotes the Serenissima. The lions, a moon phase clock, even the bell men can be found in Leipzig as well as in Venice. Only the motto is different. Omnia vincit labor is the motto in Leipzig. The Venetians knew their Virgil. And he had not let work but love conquer everything: Omnia vincit amor.
I am very skeptical that work overcomes everything. Not only the many people who suffer a heart attack or burnout as a result of work are questioning this motto. Personally, I can think of some things that work cannot overcome. All the more problematic that our language associates work with it. There is talk of grief work, or relationship work. However, I don't believe that my marriage will get better if I work more, and my grief over losing a loved one will not decrease as I increase my workload. Sure, I know that relationship and grief work is meant differently, and many people certainly find it hard work for them to find a way back into life out of their grief or to shape their marriage. But personally, I simply refuse to associate my love and grief with the keyword work, not even linguistically. My work has its place, my love has another, and so does my grief. I can work together with my husband, I can feel the grief as hard as an overcrowded working day can be, but I don't want to mix anything linguistically. Love is and remains a gift that I cannot work for. As little as I can buy myself past grief.
Whether, on the other hand, as the original saying goes, love overcomes everything? The bell men and the moon phase clock remind me that my lifetime and the lifetime of my dearest people are limited and that everything has its time, happiness and work and pain and sadness. Omnia vincit amor? At least it makes more sense to me than winning work. And it is also the message of the Bible: Love bears everything. So that I wish that I would always be given enough love in my life. To survive the dark hours - and enjoy the beautiful ones.
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