My mother works in a supermarket making little more than minimum wage. I went in yesterday to pick up something for dinner and she looked completely worn out with her usually upswept hair beginning to fall into curly wisps around her ears and neck. She told me how tired she was and how hard she had worked all day. Her coworkers seemed just as tired and all were glad that it was nearing time to close the store.
My mother was a stay-at-home mom and I do not enjoy seeing her in the workplace. Since she is divorced from my father and I’m the only son, I can’t help but get the feeling that I am somehow supposed to be her protector. I assume that is pretty natural and instinctive for humans, but it makes it difficult for me to watch her working herself to a frazzle.
The thing is, my mother doesn’t even have to work. She has enough money to live pretty comfortably without a job, but she actually seems to enjoy the opportunity to get out of the house. I understand that completely, as I’ve spent plenty of time “cooped up” over the last few months from mono and having my appendix removed. Four walls don’t provide enough stimuli.
I guess the thing that bothers me the most about my mother working is the fact that she works so hard for so little pay, while I make a good salary sitting on my hind-end most days. It’s understandable that these retail chains don’t want to pay an exorbitant amount of money to a cashier or stock boy, especially since most of those are going to be young and inexperienced with no intentions of making a career out of their position. However, my mother isn’t that young anymore and I really wish she had a more comfortable, cushy job that didn’t require that amount of physical exertion.
This country doesn’t value people that are in retail positions as much as we should. They normally make somewhere around minimum wage with little or no benefits, while providing services that we couldn’t live without. I’m heartened that the Democrats have finally pushed through legislation to raise their wages and hope that universal healthcare will become a reality during the term of the next president.
Lord, let the world be changed, for I long to see the end of poverty.
Lord, let the rules be changed for I long to see all jobs pay a wage that enables a life of dignity and sufficiency.
Lord, let the rules be changed, for I long to see justice for the poor.
Lord, let my life be changed, for I long to bring hope where good news is needed.
In the strength of your Spirit and inspired by your compassion, I make this promise –
I will work for change, and wait confidently for the day when You make all things new. Amen.
The Trade Pledge Prayer © Peter Graystone/Christian Aid.