Thursday, September 08, 2011

Labour and Rest

On Monday we climbed a trail called Greyrocks in the Poudre Valley of Colorado. It is called a moderate trail but it was hard work for an hour and a half during our ascent. On our descent we met a guy who was huffing and puffing up the mountain and his passing comment was "there is a reason they call this Labour Day!"

Of course he had the day away from his employment and we were on vacation from ours. We had a wonderful two weeks away from our work, in my case a combination of holiday and education. We still consider it a privilege to have paid time away from our work, and Labour Day celebrates the hard-won right to meaningful rest as part of gainful employment.

We arrived home near midnight on Tuesday and both of us were out the door just after eight the next morning. I was off to the hospital to see an ailing church member while Ruth was accompanying a client to court in Oshawa. Both our days proved to be busy, but while we have demanding aspects to our work, there is also satisfaction in what we do. We don't do menial or physically crushing labour the way so many do around the world, we get regular paycheques, as well as regular days away from work. As people of the God who both laboured and rested in creation, we find meaning in our contribution to the society of which we are a part.

Do you like the work you do? Some of you are retired, but still very active in church and community and our congregation couldn't exist without the wonderful "free labour" members provide. What perspectives do you have on your unpaid but important work? Do some of you wish you could find employment, or perhaps a better job? What about your parental roles as a form of work?


IanD said...

I have the best job in the world, and there isn't a day that goes by where I think, "Thank God I don't have to work for a living."

In July, when the weather was so insane, I'd see contruction workers, roofers, landscapers on the way to the air conditioned goodness of summer school and give thanks that I've ended up who I am.

Having worked in those kinds of jobs as a teen and student too, I was able to see both the honour in them, and the crushing nature of them.

In the end, I am thankful for my "labour days" because they ultimately showed me where my career niche was and why.

johnny said...

I feel much the same way as Ian - I really like my job(not withstanding the politics, which I try to avoid at all costs).

I had a brief stint of unemployment about 20 yrs ago, when my firm went under, and since then I have never taken my job for granted. In fact, when I come home with a load of groceries, I actually give thanks that I am able to do so. So many aren't.

Laura said...

I read somewhere recently that to try and find the best job for you, consider the tasks you would be willing to do for free if you had to, and find a job that requires those tasks. So I feel very lucky that many parts of the job I currently do are things that I once loved to do as a volunteer.

On parenting, I was able to stay home with my kids when they were little which was a great priviledge, but admittedly this role often didn't feel well valued by the world.

I was thinking recently as I talked with a friend that her "work" experience would become more common with our aging population. She left a paying job to move back closer to her aging parents. She now drops her young daughter at school in the morning,and drives 100km to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto to assist her mom in her daily care. She logs more hours, and miles, expenses and stress than many paying jobs would ask of her but her "pay" comes only in the form of self satisfaction, and peace of knowing her fragile Mom is well cared for....and that is worth much.

I guess it is really a blessing simply to be well enough to labour in some fashion, and also to live in a country, and know life circumstances that one has choices in how they "labour".