The following is a conversation which a friend and I had by email which began when she sent me this link:
She suggested I share it with my granddaughters and this is the best way I know how. I've separated the emails with ----------------. Enjoy.
This woman's talk inspired me. I hope you willl find it worthy of a listen.
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:11-12 NIV
Notice that she went to Australia as a refugee...not as an illegal. The differences are subtle but powerful. I have been blessed to know people who came here as refugees from Hungary, France, Austria, Germany, and Cuba. They have blessed my life by convincing me that "hardship is your friend." It is a "refiner's fire." They also taught me that "entitlements are slavery."
Entitlements are slavery is a huge statement and absolutely true from where I sit today having worked for the federal government and now working part-time at Wal-Mart as a cashier. I have seen entitlements from the perspective of the over-paid and pampered government employee who believes their position should be a guaranteed position simply because that is what they have come to expect and I see the entitlement of people in our communities who believe they must be supported by the government despite their obvious ability to work and care for themselves and their ability to care for their family members as they age and need the care. The prevalent belief system is that somone owes them something.
On the flip side I now work for a company that underpays their employees when there would be no harm to the company if they paid a living wage. This creates an environment in which many people at the Wal-Mart where I work are working two jobs to make ends meet. Interestingly enough they are not angry at Wal-Mart in particular. I think they are simply too busy and too tired to spend time discussing their plight. In fact, the women I know who are working two jobs are also raising families and often have handicapped and disabled family members yet do not even seem to have resentment. I just realized that when I started replying to your e-mail. They talk about their feet and legs hurting or their backs or how exhausted they are but they don't seem to connect that to the fault of anyone else. Believe me these are not saints. They just don't seem to be caught up in the blame game. Explain that one to me,please, Mary Lena!
They have assumed responsibility for the choices they made earlier in life which brought them to this stage. I worked with ladies very like that in the shirt factory the first summer after high school. We were paid on production and they very generously taught me how to increase my pay knowing all the while that it would mean more "time studies" as more of us made minimum wage. After each time study, the number of bundles we had to inspect, fold and pin to make minimum wage ($1.00) was increased. BUT, we lived where just having a job at all was a blessing and they were too responsible to sit on their backsides and whine. I never heard a bitter word from them.
When they learned (the day I turned in my notice) that I was headed for college, they treated me (out of their meager salary) to a bought lunch and then each gave me a bundle of their shirts to claim pay for. Each Fri, we would go to a cafe nearby. They each would buy one of the $1.25 lunches (meat, two vegies, bread and dessert and tea). Each Fri, I took my brown bag and bought tea. Because I was the only one at a table for 8 who brown bagged, the cafe owner let me sit with them.
During the months we worked together, they taught me much more than how to increase my output. They taught me gratitude for my opportunities and the value of education. They taught me to be generous with others however little I had. They taught me to think carefully about the unintended consequences my decisions might have. They taught me to take responsibility for ALL the consequences of my decisions. (This is one of the traits I must admire in our youngest son.) They taught me to have a grateful heart and a generous spirit. One of them told me, "You're never too poor to help someone else. When you think you are, you teach yourself to be helpless." It reflected my Grannsy's philosophy.
The first ten minutes after we clocked out each day, we had to get down on hands and knees and pick up all the pins we had dropped. Because they were silk pins, we weren't allowed to use magnets to pick them up for fear we might scratch the surface (they were bought in 20 lb boxes) and then we had to sweep the floors. We let the older ladies sweep because it was so difficult for them to get down on their knees. To prevent overtime, the owner would have us work 39 1/2 hours in three or four days and then "lay us off" for the rest of the week.
One of the ladies was 19 (two years older than I was). She had three young sons and had worked there since she was 14. She had a Jim Walters' home and her goal was to pay it off so she could save for a screened porch along the backside. Her only extravagance was the Fri. lunch. Another was 21, had worked there since she was 16 and had had to have a hysterectomy the year before because of the damage to her uterus from standing on concrete floors. Her goal was to pay off her new car so she could (surprise, surprise) buy another. Another was in her sixties and was working to help her grandchildren finish high school. None thought they would ever be able to retire voluntarily.
Another lady (50-60) was paying off medical bills from her husband's final illness.
We were always laughing or singing as we worked. We had to keep our voices soft because the owner's son would come over to "encourage" us to work harder. The lady who hired me was threatened with being fired for having hired "an upstart who thinks she can go to college. She'll be back in six months wanting her job back."