That job marked the beginning of a lifetime of employment in a wide variety of settings as I have always held a job of one sort or another since the time I worked the registers at Pioneer Take-Out. Quite often, through the years, I have held two jobs at the same time. Now is one of those times and they often lead to 15-or-more hours per day. Last night I was working my evening job and I started thinking about work ethics. I have a very strong work ethic and I was trying to determine where that comes from and why I work as hard as I do.
At every job I have ever held I have worked hard to be the very best I can be, no matter how trivial the job might seem. If you ask me to sweep the floor or wipe down the tables - the floor will be thoroughly swept and the tables wiped down better than anyone else can do. I don’t know why I do this considering I have pretty much zero competitive nature - even when I participate in sports or run a 10 K I am not out to beat anyone except myself. But when it comes to working I always try to be the best I can at whatever I do. I have had a really hard time trying to understand people who do not.
I think about that now and wonder at my double-mindedness. The situation I currently find myself in is challenging at times. I no longer have those possessions or all I had before. I am working two jobs, neither of which pays extremely well. I am quite underemployed at both of them, yet I work hard to produce excellence no matter what I do. At one of them I have not had a raise in three years and getting a different job has not worked out. So I am working very hard for very little and I am getting a glimmer of an understanding as to why some people just give up and start trying to figure out how to live off of the system. Not that I think that is a proper solution at all and I would never be able to do it, but I can see why some folks opt for that because working very hard for very little can be very discouraging. I am glad I can experience empathy for people who find themselves in this situation, that is something I didn’t have before.
Throughout the years when I lived with plenty I had precious little patience for anyone who could not or would not hold down a job. And I assumed anyone who struggled to make ends meet must not be trying very hard. Or must have something wrong within him or herself, because everyone knows if you work hard and well - you will catch breaks and be blessed and life will be easy. What a judgmental, presumptive fool I was. And that is one of the biggest lessons this life has taught me. Slowly but surely God has stripped me of the judgmental attitudes I equated to my Christianity and is replacing them with a more open, understanding, compassionate being. A few years ago The Torch would not have worked out, because I was not ready. I am still a work in progress with a long way to go - but I most definitely am not the judgmental, self-righteous, self-centered, misguided Christian I was. Now I cringe when I hear the statements some Christians make about those who do not meet the standard. I know I was that way once and I am so thankful for the clarity and peace I have in my faith and my life now.
At this point, I can say, without caveat (well, maybe except when I am very exhausted - I AM a work in progress) I am content whatever my lot in life is. And I know my life has been prepared for this time, for this place, for The Torch.