As I've mentioned previously, we are having an addition built on to our house. Early this morning, before many people even start their day, men were in our backyard, taking down the forms for the cement.
It was hard, hot, sweaty work, yet the men appeared cheerful as they hefted heavy slabs of wood. From the kitchen window, I heard them joking with each other. Could I do this work? Absolutely not. Would I want to do this work? Again, absolutely not. I lack the skills and the strength to do what these men appeared to do so effortlessly.
Our society frequently ranks individuals according to their profession. I should know. For years I was a fulltime mother and homemaker. I received no recognition, no glory, and, certainly, no paycheck for my time and efforts. But I believed and still believe that it was important work.
Work largely defines what kind of individuals we are. Whether we are salaried employees or bosses, whether we volunteer at an animal shelter or raise a family, we show that we value ourselves and others when we create and produce, contribute and build.
It is popular in our current culture for some people to live upon the labors of others, to claim that they are above working, that they have better things to do with their talents and energies than to support themselves. I feel sorry for them. More, I feel sorry for our society when we reward this kind of behavior.
So, for today, I am grateful for the reminder of these men that honorable work is both noble and empowering.