With Labor Day right around the corner (where did summer go?), I’ve been thinking a bit about how so much of the life I live depends on the jobs others do. The house I live in but didn’t build, the food I eat but didn’t grow, even the words I create that I am paid for – that is because someone created a place to pay others for ideas. Each of us depends on each other’s work. Our work binds us and weaves us all together. And together, we are better.
It’s amazing how we are all connected through this. Nowadays the Labor Day holiday is considered the close of summer; people often forget the day’s historical significance — it’s a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. AFL-CIO is honoring Labor Day’s original intent by recognizing people for the work that they do.
One of the people I most admire for their work is my dad. I don’t talk a lot about my family (other than Sam and Bella) on here because unless their lives entwine with ours (like my mom being here when we lost the boys) it’s not my life to share a lot about. But growing up, my dad was a pastor and he almost always worked a second full time job to support us 4 kids. For a while, he drove 3 hours each way 5 days a week to work, only to come home, spend Saturday counseling people in our church and writing a sermon, then preaching on Sunday.
Because he founded his own church when we were about 11, he and my mom were rarely able to take a vacation. They didn’t throw parties or have fancy dinners, but we opened our home to anyone who didn’t have somewhere to be during the holidays and had church get-togethers at the town Community Center.
There was never a time my dad took a break from being a pastor. If we were out, someone would always corner him for a favor. He took calls at all hours and flew back across the country to do a funeral at a former church. My mom worked tirelessly beside him to support the music, children’s, and women’s ministries. Often they faced brutal criticism and gossip from church members that turned our home upside down for a while – but they never wavered in what they had been called to do.
My dad has changed lives – thousands of them. His work mattered, and I thank him and my mom for it.
Work connects us all, and the work an individual does affects the lives of others in a big way. Go to aflcio.org/thankyou to send a thank you card to someone whose work you appreciate.