Sunday, August 19, 2007

People I Admire

(Sabbath Blog #30)

My father worked. Born in 1921, he grew up on a farm just outside Yatesville, Georgia, and, like children on farms do, worked on it. After his high school graduation he went to work for Thomaston Mills, a textile mill located in the Upson County seat. Except for the years that he spent in the Navy during World War II, Daddy worked right there at that mill until he died in 1979. And work he did. He finally rose to a managerial position that required him to wear a tie, but he would still come home grimy because he just couldn’t help himself. My father even worked when he wasn’t at work. He loved to plant a vegetable garden. He would work just as hard in it after work and on Saturdays as he did at his job.

I work, too. But most of my work is done with my heart and my mind and my ears and my mouth. It’s important and gratifying work, and it’s the kind of work that my good father hoped I would grow up to do. He didn’t want me working in the mills, which is a good thing, since the one that he worked in and for that matter most of them have shut down. His hope for me was what my hopes are for my children: that I would find my life’s work and do it. That my work is not physically demanding would make him glad, too.

I admire doctors, lawyers, teachers, ministers, accountants, nurses, managers, and all other professionals. I appreciate their education and their contributions and their accomplishments.

But I really admire construction workers and factory workers and sanitation workers and yard keepers and highway builders and folks who do physical work.

What got me to thinking about this? This week we had five pine trees taken down in our yard. That’s hard and hot work. Here in our part of the world we have had day after day of temperatures at or near 100 degrees with heat indexes well over 100. Still those men were here, doing their job, and doing it well. It’s work I cannot do. It’s work that we need good folks to do. And those guys do it.

I’m impressed. And I’m filled with admiration.

Let’s never forget that it is on the backs of such hard workers that our civilization is built. And let’s thank God for them.

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