Seeing the Essential

Several months ago, I went to the grocery store early enough to see some people still stocking the shelves. Suddenly it hit me to thank the person on the aisle I was on for his work. I told him that I appreciated him and his co-workers and that I knew that the food didn’t just appear on the shelves. Then I went a little far and told him he was part of a miracle that brought food from all over the world to those of us who take for granted that we can simply desire something to eat and then all we have to do is go to the store and pick it up or even have it delivered to us.

He looked at me like I was crazy. But I was glad I said something. Because now their value is seen more clearly than ever before.

I don’t know if this letter is real. But the sentiment is. And we need to hear it. Way too many of us can’t fathom the idea of paying a living wage to many of those, who are now identified as essential workers. But here’s the thing, they were always essential. Do you hear me? If you are working in one of these professions where you are putting yourself and your family at risk for the rest of us, you are essential. And I’m sorry that it took a pandemic for so many of us to see it. I pray that when this is over, we remember your service. And that somehow we figure out how to create a system that values the work you do for us.


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