Your regularly scheduled adoration of Alexander McCall Smith.

It is time, once again, for me to talk about how wonderful Alexander McCall Smith is and how beautiful his books are. This is from the latest in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built.

She took a sip of her tea. Nothing was forever, not her, not Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, not the house, not even Botswana. She had recently read that scientists could work out exactly when everything would come to an end and the earth would be swallowed up by the sun–or was it by some other planet?–and there would be nothing left of any of us. That had made her think, and she had raised the issue with her friend, Bishop Trevor Mwamba, over tea outside the Anglican Cathedral, one Sunday morning after the seven thirty service in English and just before the nine thirty service in Setswana. “Is it true,” she had asked, “that the sun will swallow up the earth and that will be that?”

Trevor had smiled. “I do not think that this is going to happen in the near future, Mma Ramotswe,” he had replied. Certainly not by next Tuesday, when the Botswana Mothers’ Union meets. And, frankly, I don’t think that we should worry too much about that. Our concern should be what is happening right now. There is plenty of work for love to do, you know.”

There is plenty of work for love to do. That was a wonderful way of putting it, and she had told him that this could be the best possible motto for anybody to have.

She finished her tea and began to walk back into the house. There is plenty of work for love to do. Yes. There was breakfast to be made, and letters to be answered, and the problems in clients’ lives to be sorted out. There was quite enough to do without worrying about the sun consuming the earth.

I read it to Mike, and he said, “Jesus said that.” I started to disagree, that Jesus didn’t specifically say that about love and work, and he added, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, Jesus said that.” That’s true, he did. But, you know, even if Jesus didn’t say that there is plenty of work for love to do, I think that was a huge part of what he wanted to teach us here on earth. I see it at church, when I see people stepping forward to make sure that hungry children have food on the weekends. I see it at school, as teachers and staff love students because of their faith and because they feel called to education. I see it in my friends who have chosen to live in neighborhoods where they feel they can make a difference. I see it in my friends who work with youth, my friends from the public library, and my friends who volunteer at the homeless shelter. There is so much work that can be done. There are so many hurting people. It is so easy to give and give and give and get burned out, but it helps, sometimes, to remember that we don’t have to give out of ourselves. We can give out of that love that has been so freely given to us.

I have to agree with Mma Ramotswe. As mottos go, that is a pretty darn good one.

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