Standing on the street corner yesterday, I was talking with a friend, Hans Hess (and also the chairman of the board for The Washington Institute) We had had lunch, talking about many things. His work, my work, the summer, the future. And I saw an EnviroCab go by, and smiled.
Hans owns the company, along with Elevation Burger, whose tagline is “Ingredients Matter.” The cab company is very local, serving the Washington area; the hamburger company began here but now is surrounding the world, slowly, slowly.
At that very moment we were talking about work. The messiness of work. The stress of work. The complexity of work. The responsibility of work. But also the vocation of work, and the possibility of seeing the sacramental character of work—of so paying attention to questions that matter that in and through our work we see places where heaven and earth meet.
The longer I watch Hans at work, the more sure I am that his work is always about “signposts in a strange land,” to remember Walker Percy. His business ventures are signposts of the way things are supposed to be, and perhaps someday will be. Cabs that remember our responsibility to history, hamburgers that are both tasty and healthy at the same time— both come from visions of vocation for the common good.
That is good work, for everyone everywhere.