Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino
that’s what i’m thinking as we approach the first monday of september. and i’m thinking about the eleanor roosevelt quote, “when you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.” that so often rings true to me. to work is to live. to contribute not just to our jobs where we earn money, but to our daily responsibilities to ourselves, our homes, our joys, our talents, our families, and our communities. our efforts are what make us human.
labor day takes on new meaning to me as i am in my 49th year. this is the holiday i have both loved and dreaded most of my life. as a kid, labor day meant all out fun and ice cream until the sun set. it also meant the end of summer and the beginning of daylight savings around the corner. school was starting. a certain freedom was fading into a distant memory. but then as an adult, it also signified three, not two days away from the office. a time to relax, more time to enjoy being with my family. maybe take in a movie. or perhaps, just a long, languorous nap under a tree. if only for that one extra day.
i have come to realize that the acknowledgment of our efforts must come each and every day of the year. we need that. whether or not we have a job we love or simply tolerate. there is deeper meaning available here. the true dream job is being in the moment with the task at hand. in those moments when i can be present, i know i am finding god in the details of everything i do. i am not afraid. i am grateful. there is a sweet surrender. i am just doing what i’m doing without looking up or down or ahead. i am doing my part. i am alive. i feel counted for something.
as i pack my suitcase for a long labor day weekend away, i think of all of us and pray that we may know a long, healthy and safe weekend celebration of our labors. that we may be present to everything we do – from making dinner to gardening, to reading a book on the sofa to building monuments to respecting our neighbors. these are the labors of love. this is “our” job now to lift our nation high in a time of what seems to be unparalleled chaos. there is no shortage of work to be done.