Who will be left to serve?

Have you ever realized, Dear Reader, that if you or I go out to eat, we are rich enough to have “servants?”  We actually have enough discretionary funds to pay for someone to prepare our meal and clean up after us–even if it’s fast food!  

I recently read an article which interviewed several different workers in the hospitality industry.  Each person who had previously served in the hospitality industry did not plan to return. The pandemic gave these workers time to reflect and hope and dream, and most  decided working in food service was not how they wanted their life to continue.  And the number one reason given for not wanting to return was the treatment they received from customers.  Customers angry their food wasn’t served quickly enough; customers angry at restaurant requirements; customers who yelled and swore and belittled the very people who served them.

Who will be left to serve?

Many doctors and nurses now carry a “panic button.”  It’s hard to believe, yet I know it’s true.  I’ve seen them interviewed on TV, and I’ve read some of their accounts.  They are spat on, cursed at, called names, and more.  You know, it’s one thing to have a longer than usual wait for a Big Mac, but it’s quite another situation to need medical attention and not have someone in the medical field available to help you.  I have a family member who has a fairly urgent condition and was able to secure an appointment. . .three weeks from now. 

I remember seeing an interview with one nurse sobbing as she recounted holding a dying man’s hand as he screamed at her that his illness was all “fake.”  And then he died.  His last words on this earth were spat in anger at the very woman who was trying to help him. . .and then that nurse decided she couldn’t do her job anymore.  She left nursing.

Who will be left to serve?

And then to what hits closest to home to me. . .those serving in public education. . .again, a public institution where no child or family is turned away for any reason.  As a member of my local Classroom Teachers Association, who has a wonderful working relationship with our administrators, I attend every school board meeting.  There was a time in our world where attending a school board meeting would have been akin to the excitement of watching paint dry.  Oh, how I long for those boring days!  I’ve listened to people yell and cuss and scream and accuse.  I’ve listened to people refuse to respect any viewpoint other than their own.  I’ve listened to people who want to ban numerous books and hold the school accountable for what their child reads, with no mention of parental guidance or the values parents must instill in their children to make wise decisions when faced with multiple choices in life. (I hear what many of my students are watching on streaming services and I would offer that would be a really good area for parents to monitor–to monitor what their children are watching at home, but that’s a different point.)  I even listened to one man at a school board meeting continually interrupt and scream out, “We need God back in our schools!”  And I’m stating the obvious here: it was very difficult to see God in that snarling, interrupting, rude man.

I wonder if he ever considered that he wasn’t making it easier to see God, but instead, he was making it much more difficult?  Maybe God never left our schools?  Maybe He just can’t be heard and seen when people are yelling and fighting all the time?

As you can imagine, I am associated with many teachers in my personal and professional life.  And the same questions continues to arise. . .”How much longer do you think you can do this?”  Listen to that question, Dear Reader. . .people who have devoted their lives to honing their education skills and loving all children are literally wondering how many more years they can teach before the angry mob of adults successfully harasses and wears them down.  From superintendents to school boards to administrators to teachers, we all try to pray for one another and ask ourselves, “How much more negativity, harangues, and hatred can we personally endure before we say it’s not worth it anymore?” 

Who will be left to serve?

And for all those who are so angry at everyone, I have to wonder. . .do they wonder?  Who will fix their food?  Who will provide their medical care?  Who will provide them extra security, when needed?  Who will complete tasks for them when they can no longer complete tasks for themselves?  Who will stock the shelves with supplies?  Who will teach the children and provide students with daily stability and love?  Who will do all of this? 

Who will be left to serve?

Dear Reader, these are some dark days right now.  Smiles, common ground, prayers, positive notes and emails, agreeing to disagree, and general kindness go a long, long way.  Beautiful people, let’s step it up!  Let’s do everything we can to be encouraging and a calm Light in this dark, dark world.  And Church, it’s not any one political leader who is going to change this trajectory, but instead, the trajectory will change one individual at a time who chooses to love and serve God rather than hate and rant.  Honestly, I think that’s the only way there will be anyone left to serve.  

Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.