This morning as I leaned against my kitchen counter waiting on my morning caffeine, I found myself thinking about the role of time in my life. Time slips away so quickly and yet rolls along so slowly. This is because the passage of time has more to do with the situation than with the actual notion of time itself. If there really is a Time Lord with his glorious Tardis, just what would he say to me standing in the quiet of my darkened kitchen waiting for the clock to tick, tock? I believe he would say this, “really live in this moment.”
It was in this head place that I opened my sugar bowl and found myself quoting TS Eliot, “Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoon, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons….”
Just how much time does life measuring take anyway? Well, that depends…. It depends on the life and the labor involved in the living of that life.
Today is Labor Day, a day we celebrate by possibly having the day off from work and eating barbecue and salads bathed in mayonnaise. Since 1882 we’ve been recognizing the role of labor, but how often do we really and truly recognize those who labor? How many minutes of our time is really spent “celebrating” labor or is the reason behind recognizing the role of labor simply slipping away?
There are millions of laboring US citizens who may never measure their lives in coffee spoons. Instead, they measure their lives in hours spent in the sun picking fruit, the number of toilets scrubbed, the number of papers graded, bed pans emptied, conveyor belts of standardized parts sorted. We are a nation who labors and measures its life from holiday to holiday, weekend to weekend. The work ethic that powers this nation is empowered by the notion of equality and fairness that the Constitution’s framers envisioned for all citizens. Demanding a fair wage is this generation’s demand for “no taxation without representation.”
To be a worker in this nation is to be the beneficiary of the unions and the laborers of years gone by. And that is why so many people have this day off to spend enjoying the last moments of summer with their family…because in times past people measured out their lives in the differences between the workers making the product and the managers overseeing that process. And the measurement came up short.
Our time does slip away in our daily chores and activities but it is the only time we get. As you sit down with your people and celebrate all that is good in your life, take a bit of time to think about those who we lost in the process. May that number’s growth slow before this time next year.