I was making a pot of soup this morning and it got me thinking about Labour Day…. Strange I know …..but I’ll explain…..
Labour Day is celebrated annually on the first Monday in September to honour the achievement of workers. Labour Day has it has its origins in the labour movement. We in no small measure have to thank the labour movement for the current working conditions and benefits that we enjoy in this country. For me Labour Day, is also an opportunity to give thanks for all hard work and those who are not afraid of it. I was fortunate to grow up in a home where the utmost value was placed on hard work. My father worked hard his entire life and instilled in all of us a strong work ethic. All that being said, when I think of hard work, one of the first people comes to my mind is our mother.
Vivian George, my mother, married my father at age 17. She moved to a new community took on responsibility for her in-laws, and began raising a family. Over the first 21 years of her nearly 60 year marriage she gave birth to seven children. She spent the next nearly 40 raising us and helping us raise our own families. Mom is an inspiration.
Mom worked hard every day – she laboured in her full time role of mother. Sometimes the work was difficult, the hours long, and often thankless. But my mother reported daily without complaint. What she do for us was in no way a secondary role. When I visit mom now in Long Term Care, and hold her hand, I am reminded of all the work those hands did for me and for my siblings. Those beautiful hands suffered cold for us. They were burned in ovens for us. They were cut when preparing meals for us. They were dirty from cleaning up after us. They often got wet from wiping tears from us. They are hands that have been loving in acts that are great and small. Holding mom’s hand is to hold a reminder of the loving, caring, encouraging, supportive and strong hands of a hard working person who never complained about her work – a woman who loves her family. Mom worked long hours and she was always there when needed. When I was an adolescent mom took a job outside the home – but she did not give up the work she had at home as well. Sometimes that meant working long hours in a nursing home and coming home and diving into her role as mother. That responsibility never suffered.
At this point in time with mom in Long Term Care and me a good journey away from her, it’s often small things that bring mom to mind daily. Today it was the pot of soup. One of the little things mom and I had was around soup. Mom always put a can of Campbell’s Soup into her homemade soups. It was the final ingredient. Once she put it in she would ladle up some of the soup into the can and give it to me. My treat was piping hot soup out of the soup can before the others got some – perk of being the youngest! This was followed by by the questions; Are the vegetables boiled? Is it salted enough? It’s not too salty is it? Answers were generally yes, yes, and no. When I make soup I still take a can of soup first. Mentally ask myself the same questions. And on a day like today – offer thanks for the tender and caring ways my mother worked hard raising me, and my six siblings.
So on this Labour Day I thank you Mom for showing us how to work hard and excel in a vocation. I thank you mom for modelling hard work for us all.
Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but
for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labour, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out
of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.