Labor Day 2014
For me, Labor Day simply means an end to the summer and a pause in the tourist traffic in my Pocono Mountain home. (It will pick up once more when the leaves turn their bright shades of farewell). For my husband it is a day of respite. It is another Saturday only without the trip to the grocery store. For my daughter it is a normal Monday as she always has Mondays off. For me it is a day of sadness. I no longer “labor” –not even in my own house. The laboring days for this body no longer mean work. Now If I labor it means to struggle to breathe –or to make it up a flight of stairs.
I miss working. I most of all miss getting a paycheck. Chronic illness has robbed me: robbed me of the camaraderie between my workmates and myself; robbed me of the satisfaction of a job well done; robbed me of the sense of purpose working gave me; robbed me of the dignity that my uniform gave me. My uniform meant: “I’m here to help you. If you need anything, just ask me.”
I miss that. I miss swinging my legs into my Saturn and heading toward home and bed. Now I do not drive. Now I cannot help anyone, not even myself. Now my uniform is sweat pants and a tee shirt.
So what can “Labor Day” mean to me?
I just sent a “Labor Day” card to my daughter and husband. Thanking them for working and providing for our needs.
For those of you who labor to get through a day---perhaps your feet entangle in the bog of weariness or depression or perhaps in the slough of chronic illness and pain---own this holiday. It is yours too. We each have our own efforts for which we deserve respite or recognition. I wish I could wave my magic wand and give you a break from the hardship of labor in your life. The labor of caring for a sick husband or child; the labor of trying to stretch a dollar as you attempt to buy enough food to feed your family; the labor of raising a son or daughter and watching them abuse drugs or alcohol or be sexually indiscreet; the labor of always struggling to say “no” to your cravings as you strive to lose X number of pounds so that you can respect and like yourself again; the labor of a new mother—who doesn’t have a partner to share the load of sleepless nights for her baby---and thus for her as well. Or my wand would certainly wave for the refugees chased from their homes by governments or religions that make no room for them to coincide with each other ...and for those villages who are pillaged and raped and set to flames; for the homeless who don’t have shelter.
There certainly is a lot of pain in the world. And for those of us who merely toil under a boss who dislikes us or even for those like myself who are not hungry nor homeless ---but “merely” in pain, looking at the list of hardships people labor under it can make our labor seem easy.
Easy labor. Reminds me of the words of Jesus.,… “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
NLT Matt 11:28-30
Yes. That is it exactly what I would do with my “magic wand”….I would send you to the feet of Jesus, to learn how to rest…really rest; the kind of rest that reaches down to your very soul and allows you to bask in the knowledge of his provision and concern for you.
This Labor Day, take the “Yoke” of Jesus on you and allow HIM to pull the weight that was previously yours alone to bear. Be blessed and bask in his love.