Moving to Minnesota has been eye opening for me in many ways! I’ve had to learn new things (how to walk in the snow without falling on my butt…. Snow chains for my boots!; how to rake leaves and shovel snow; what a hot dish is; to expect people to say, “You betcha,” when you thank them; and dealing with suspicion about my choice to be vegetarian to name just a few). But I think the most eye-opening thing has been watching people’s expressions when I tell them what I am doing for work. As someone trained as a teacher, spiritual director and pastor, when I say I’m working in the dining room at the monastery, a puzzled, judgmental look passes over them. “You are doing what?” they might ask, if they are not good at filtering themselves. And I imagine an internal conversation happening as they try to figure out why someone with a master’s degree is working a minimum wage job.
Without explaining the many reasons why, I know this is the right place for me to be right now. Being part time, it gives me time to build my spiritual direction practice, and I work with good, spiritual people. So, for now, it’s where I need to be.
But the reaction makes me wonder: why do we so quickly judge and categorize people according to their job? why do we think some jobs are less than? why do we look down on people who work service jobs?
I know I can be guilty of some of this, especially if I am speaking to a customer service person on the phone (way less so if I can see the person in front of me)…. I can get impatient, speak more harshly, forget I’m speaking to an actual human being (supposing I am!!). And seeing reaction directed toward me has made me realize my part in this, and the desire to do better.
No matter who I interact with, I promise to recognize their humanity, their spiritual nature, the essence of their being. And I believe this will help bring more peace and love and joy to this world.
Will you join me?