A conversation with a young man yesterday has me feeling a little bit blue on this Labor Day. Maybe it’s because what he said I have heard before from other people, young and old. It’s a phrase that begins with, “I just…” or “I’m only…” In this case, the young man was speaking of his employment and he was putting himself down for working in a fast-food restaurant. (I’ll bet anything that he is working today, on Labor Day, while I sit at home enjoying a longer weekend than usual with my family.) I was quick to tell him how much I respected the work he does, and that there is no shame in making an honest living. What saddens me, though, is I don’t think he really knows how sincerely I believe this.
What makes people feel “less than” others, and what can we do to lift people’s spirits up? I don’t begin to have a lot of answers to this question, but yesterday’s conversation reminds me that everyone needs to feel affirmed and appreciated. When someone goes out of their way to say, “thank you” to me, those simple words captivate me and inspire me to share that same appreciation with others.
So, this Labor Day, let us enjoy our families and the last dregs of summer. But let’s also remember to thank all workers for the services they provide. Let’s start a chain reaction of gratitude that will flow right into Thanksgiving. “Prosper the work of our hands, Lord. Prosper the work of our hands!”