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Labor Day

Posted by griffithd on September 4, 2017 at 2:45 PM

Labor Day

I have long viewed Labor Day as a significant annual marker. Two-thirds of the year is gone, a third to go. Summer ends and the school year begins. The first days of fall give rise to the change of colors, the days grow darker, and soon the V’s of geese will be forming for the migration south.

This year it also marks a rise in my anxiety in the way I have not felt in some time.

Harvey has sent a major wake-up call that Global warming is real and that urban growth needs to be more thoughtful and intentional. Irma is churning towards the east coast least we think we are over natures wake up calls, and wild fires burn in Los Angeles. There is the recent civil unrest in Charlottesville, and one could argue the same tension is all across America. Congress is at loggerheads, and the Commander in Chief is learning, we hope, on the job that Twitter is not the way to respond to a rogue regional nuclear threat, let alone issues of trade, education, healthcare, or the environment. This labor day with employment near record lows, wage growth is flat, and for many, the ability to make reasonable ends meet is nonexistent, one has to wonder is the American dream that we once marched towards no longer a realistic goal for many of our citizens? Indeed I am anxious as our polarity of thought has not been this far apart in a long time. As the possibility of grandkids becomes real, I worry about the America and the World they and their parents will see and experience. I wonder does our generation share a legacy with others throughout history that grew too comfortable and self-centered that they could not see and anticipate the challenges of the times. Are we like Rome with the barbarians at the gate?

It is relatively easy and fashionable to blame leadership and call for change. It is an entirely different challenge to look in the mirror and hold one’s self accountable. Consider the following. Are you active in the political process? Are you an advocate for the issues that matter? Are you willing to give financial support for the changes necessary? Are you prepared to do the hands on work to drive change? Are you ready to listen to a stranger and walk in their shoes? Are you willing to put your community and communities you do not know ahead of your interests? Are you prepared to do the uncomfortable? Are you ready to take on risk to drive change? To do hard, but good work, with perhaps personal cost?

My overwhelming sense is most of us would answer Yes. Followed by the reasonable question of how?

My suggestion would be to join with other like minded individuals and families. To pray, to commit time to work on and in social justice, to become informed of the facts and not the rhetoric, to get active in your faith community and not just on Sundays, to pick a cause and to focus on an issue bigger than you. To vote, to ask questions, to support a free press, to learn compromise is a way forward. To understand your values and teach them. That diversity is a strength, and we are stronger together than apart. That talk is better than torches. In short to do, rather than accept the way it is. To find best practices and drive real change, not maintain the status quo.

It is on this Labor Day, a marker in our year and journey, natural to fear the darkness. To grow anxious in the face of evil.

To answer that fear I hold that one can walk the path of the carpenter from Bethlehem and actively and intentionally, seek the light.

In doing so, you might just find that in the doing, you also bring the light not only to yourself but also to an anxious stranger who will remember your example and be better.

Real change, the backbreaking labor this Labor Day, starts in the mirror.

Categories: Muddy Boots, Leadership, Griffith Thoughts

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