December 3, 2020

A Worker’s Prayer for Labor Day 2017

Millstones, Spring Mill (IN) State Park (2016)

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A Worker’s Prayer for Labor Day 2017


  1. labor . . . honest, hard-working labor

    an immigrant family comes to this country speaking only French from Canada and no money to pay for the Catholic school tuition for their six children,
    but the parents work for the parish priest and the nuns . . . carpentry, odd jobs, the father; sewing, laundry, scrubbing floors, the mother . . . . and so the children learnt English in a school where the nuns taught half-day in French, half-day in English

    the children grew older and the girls went to factory work and to being maids in homes of wealthy people, and the son, my good father, went to the Civilian Conservation Corps, and then into the USNavy to serve and he married and then we were born

    all the girls married also, and came the next generation, into the promise of this country and goodness, the promise delivered: that third generation: a doctor, an artist, a psychiatrist, a Massachusetts ‘super-lawyer’ (partner, Fitch Boston), on and on and on . . . . . teachers, a politician, and all remember vividly the little house of the grandparents in Aldenville with it’s warmth and love, a place our parents called ‘home’ that was built from the hands of the good grandfather, sturdy and strong

    and then the fourth generation . . . . . on and on into the future, building and contributing and teaching, and governing, and nursing, and serving in military, and going to war, and healing, and saving lives for real

    I am not even sure that my good grandparent had ‘documentation’ or were ‘legal’, but I know something with certainty: that they came here with good hearts and they labored honestly and they are revered by those who are descended from them and are honored by hard work, honest work in the tradition of so many children of immigrants who have come to work in this land. I’ll spend labor day thinking about them, the old pepere with the wooden leg, who stood over six feet tall, the loving memere, so formal in here manner who was humble enough to work for her children’s education until her fingers bled which my father remembered seeing on many occasions.

    I will remember the immigrants, my family, on Labor Day. I honor them, yes.

  2. Nice little hymn by the Gettys.

  3. I’m a blue collar guy. My work clothes are covered in paint. From another perspective I’m a white collar guy because I own the business. I take care of masking tape and red tape. Some guys disdain the labor but I am happy to pick up a brush or a roller. I comfortably wear both collars. I like to think of it as an analogy for the human/spirit paradox. It’s not half and half. It’s all in on both counts. Having said that I am looking forward to a nice cabernet and a cigar on this fine Labor Day!

  4. Heather Angus says

    Today I’ll keep in mind the last verse of the hymn “My shepherd will supply my need::

    The sure provisions of my God attend me all my days.
    Oh may thy house be my abode, and all my work be praise.
    There would I find a settled rest, while others go and come,
    No more a stranger, nor a guest, but like a child at home.

  5. Amen

    I hope you all have a great Labor Day.

  6. senecagriggs says

    I find myself working as a consultant these days. There are about 30 of us, at least a third are in their 70s [ I’m close but not there yet ].

    We work when we want; no benefits but the pay is pretty decent; we are paid on a piecemeal basis. I had hoped I wouldn’t be working at this age but here I am . I am both grateful for the job and semi-distressed that I still work.
    I work about 25 hrs a week, sometimes less; never more though I could if I wanted to.

    I’m not sure it’s “honest” labor – after all the only physical labor involved is sitting in a chair reading a monitor and doing a little keyboarding. It does require active thinking and assessing and that’s a good thing.
    Technically I have no boss and I “boss” no one. That’s really good.
    A “tiller of the soil” I am not.

    • Hello Seneca,

      you are not alone in working into your seventies . . . . . my husband worked into his seventies for Lockheed Martin part-time two days a week after he ‘retired’, and they paid him very well for his time. I guess they needed what he knew. I was very happy the day he finally stopped working for them, but looking back, I think those two days a week were a kind of ‘transition’ for him from ‘full-time’ to complete retirement and the structure of work was a help for him.

      I am certain there are many older people who work now who likely prefer to be fully retired.

      But in my husband’s case, sadly his health declined after full retirement. I thought it would get better, and now I am just thankful that his health has now stabilized.

  7. a day of rest
    the worker’s bones relax
    soon tomorrow