Happy Labor Day to everyone.
Let’s take a moment and reflect on this day. I’ve always made a living using my mind, whether as a bookstore manager, wholesale purchaser, writer, editor, teacher, speaker, or spiritual counselor. I’m very fortunate to do so, and I try to remember that I stand on the shoulders of many ancestors and others who built the world we live in with the hard sweat of their bodies. Today, let’s remember that no one is wealthy, or privileged, or successfull, alone — we all stand shoulder to shoulder with countless business partners, employees, fellow workers, laborers, and others whose efforts have contributed to our own prosperity.
Let us remember those who do not have the luxury of taking off a special day, such as police officers, firefighters, those who serve in the armed forces, doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and (especially now) rescue workers. These people do most of their work far away from the spotlight, and yet their efforts help to keep our society safe and healthy.
Let us especially remember those whose labor has been undervalued or unrewarded, from the many generations of slaves and indentured servants who laid the foundation for our infrastructure, to the miners and sweatshop workers and others who needed union represantation to eke out a livable wage, to the countless mothers, homemakers, au pairs, and nannies whose “women’s work” may not have received much in the way of recognition or reward, but truly made life worth living for untold numbers of men and children.
Labor Day comes at the beginning of the harvest season, just as Thanksgiving comes at the end of it. These two modern holidays in many ways parallel the ancient Celtic festivals of Lughnasa and Samhain, festivals that bookended the harvest season of their agricultural society. So, in the spirit of our Celtic forebears, I invite you to take a few moments today and, in the manner appropriate to your faith or religion, give thanks for all those who labor, both now and in the past, the fruits of which you enjoy today.