Honest Work (And The People I Meet There)

I want to write a shorter entry, because the last one was so long.

Though I didn’t sleep well last night, I don’t feel overly tired. I’ve been able to heal enough (emotionally) that I’m able to accommodate a reasonable amount of insomnia and I’ve been able to develop a few techniques which keep me more calm and put me in a better position to fall asleep. As I mentioned in my last entry, this has a lot to do with healing emotion before attempting to utilize more cognitive techniques.

I dropped my son off at school today and then stopped by a local convenience store to pick up an application. Until he graduates in June, I can only work weekends at a job with regular hours. Money is very tight and even though a minimum wage job won’t come close to paying a mortgage, I need to do something (just to get momentum).

There’s something admirable in honest work and I’ve always been desirous to contribute what I can.

In all the years I’ve worked minimum wage jobs, I’ve met all sorts of people. I realize that this is a group of folks who are disparaged, but I’ve never felt that to be justified. There are some who just don’t want to be away from their families and living a life. When I worked in the corporate world, I worked 16 hour days and took more training courses in my “spare” time. I never saw my family and my son often asked where I was. After all the intervening years, no one remembers me…and no one cares what I did for them back then. So, yes, there are people who work minimum wage jobs so that they can more easily spend time with there family. That sounds rather normal and healthy to me.

Of course there are others who are in transition and a minimum wage job is only a temporary stop on the way. High school and college students, folks making a transition, folks getting back into the work force after choosing to stay at home and raise children. Again, no worries, nothing disparaging there.

Then, there are others of us. In working these jobs, I’ve meet people who have been abused and mistreated all of their lives. They function in the best way that they can while caring the effects of abuse even I can’t fathom. Growing up in poverty (through no fault of their own); sexual abuse from family, neighbors and more; physical abuse to a level I certainly never experienced. These are folks who are just trying to make it through the day. Still in survival mode – and with no help or support system – they don’t have the emotional energy to ponder what happened and how they can heal. They’re trying to survive in the best way that they can and in the only way they know how. I’ve worked with people who literally slept under bridges between jobs because they were homeless. I’ve worked with people who, like myself, still couldn’t afford to pay rent and buy food – forget about college.

I don’t mind working minimum wage jobs. I’d rather do that than go back to my corporate life. But working with the folks who are still lost and damaged (perhaps beyond repair) I do feel a certain amount of trepidation and fear. It reminds me too much of what I’ve been through. I want to help others. I can’t stomach their further slide into the darkness: It’s not that I find it uncomfortable or inconvenient, I bleed for others. I understand the depths of their bewildering pain.

Perhaps, I’m meant to work at the convenience store for the sake of others. Perhaps, there’s someone I’m meant to meet and give comfort to. Perhaps, I can inspire or provide that faintest spark of hope and light to.

I don’t know if I’m capable or healed enough to do that. But I will always offer what I can, to anyone I can, simply because I can.

That is the true purpose of life and living.

Be Well, My Friends,


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