The dignity of work

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My friend Julie introduced me to the above phrase.  I see it in Bill as he daily grows into his job.  He takes the work seriously, puts all his sincerity into doing it well, and is beginning to make progress.  He recently made a sale (of one of his own pieces) that is going to help us enormously with the kindergarten tuition.  Every day he works the possibilities and learns more about plying his trade.

I thought again of the dignity of work this morning as Gideon and I were garbage truck groupies.  There is nothing Gideon loves more than the garbage truck.  Tuesdays are practically festival days here as Gidi watches out the window (in bad weather) or waits vigil outside.  Today I managed to get my baking done early and the weather was glorious, so we grabbed the stroller and went out to find and follow the garbage truck.

The gentlemen working trash duty caught on quickly and smiled and waved at us.  At one point we pretended to race.  I thought about how I had briefly wanted to be a trash collector when I was a kid (in those days we said garbageman), and how my parents dismissed the idea outright, allergic even to the thought.  My parents’ point was that the job would be messy, stinky, and unpleasant.  Long hours, rough conditions, hard labor; the kind of job one gets when one can’t do anything else.  (I liked the idea of wind in my hair being an everyday occurrence.  Still do.)

There is dignity in this work.  Our society would be much diminished in the absence of people who help get rid of the stuff we don’t want.  Plus, trash collectors make a steady living and are everywhere admired by two-year-old boys and others.

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