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Rest and renewal on Labor Day


President Grover Cleveland signed a bill in l894 making Labor Day, the first Monday in September, a national holiday. This Labor Day, I plan to slow down, relax and enjoy life with my husband.

Even older people past the age of retirement have the ability to work all the time. That’s what many of us do. We may not work at the same jobs as when we were younger, but still we can fill our days with work.

Labor Day was originally started to honor workers, workers who were laborers, some in unions. But work life in the United States has changed since the late 1800s. Most of us understand work comes in many forms, different from a few generations ago when the majority of people worked in agriculture or factories. These days many of us work with our brains instead of our hands.  We work on the telephone and at computers.

As I pause I remember working in my twenties as a waitress, an actress, and a phone salesperson. In my thirties I worked as an ESL teacher for adults, and as a paid columnist and an author’s media escort. From 2005 to 2010  I worked as an on-call-chaplain in hospitals.

None of these jobs could be called labor, but still Labor Day means something to me.

When I think of labor, I also think of the labor women go through delivering babies. Childbirth is hard work, which no one else will ever appreciate unless they’ve done it themselves. Beyond the delivery of babies I think of the wonderful but constant work of raising children and taking care of a family. Mothers need a day off, too — a day away from cooking, cleaning, washing diapers, and mowing the lawn. A time to just “be.” Actually, besides mothers we all need a chance to just “be.” It can have a calming effect.

The Native Americans say a solar eclipse marks a time for renewal. As we had a total eclipse on August 21, 2017, not long before Labor Day, I’d like to listen to the Native Americans and renew my life.

For the eclipse my husband and I stayed home on our back porch in Wheat Ridge. We didn’t have eclipse glasses at first. But the tree in our yard created a multitude of mini-eclipse-reflections on the porch and deck. I said “You should see this,” I said to our neighbors who were watching the eclipse on their roof.

“Do you have glasses?” my neighbor asked.

“No,” I said.

From his roof he tossed me down a pair. They landed on our side of the fence. “Thank you so much!” I said.

Then my husband and I took turns with the glasses watching the moon cross over the sun. “Wow!” was all I could say. The reflections of the eclipse through the leaves created hundreds of lit up mini-eclipse shapes over us, the porch, the deck and the grass.  Incredible delight. Awesome experience!

While watching the eclipse I felt the presence of God — a smiling God. He was putting on a show.

In primitive cultures the people paid a lot of attention to the sun the moon and the stars. They understood the constellations, created calendars. They had instincts about the natural world instincts that many of us in the modern world, drenched in technology, have lost.

It’s a time to find it again, the wonder of the natural world and the One who created it all. Why not take time on Labor Day to slow down, relax and have a memorable day?


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