Okay. Deep breath. My first meme. Here’s hoping I don’t fall off the edge of the known universe and land, splat, on the cement in some alien’s backyard.
1. Write about the Strangest Job I Ever Had and tell what I learned from it.
2. Link to other "Lessons from Odd Jobs" posts.
3. Tag my post "Lessons from Odd Jobs".
4. Tag other bloggers, in or out of the HC network.
5. Link back to the Lessons from Odd Jobs page and and email this month’s host at “Marcus AT highcallingblogs DOT com”.
MERRIE'S BIG ADVENTURE, I MEAN, REALLY ODD JOB:
I grew up in a blue-collar family in a Midwestern factory town. In my neighborhood, it was understood that when you were done going to school, you simply walked inside one of those cinder block factories and never came out again.
It was the greatest horror story I ever heard. And my father had the oil beneath his fingernails to prove it.
My friends spent dark hours behind machines that never stopped, never broke, never cared about the whole flesh-and-blood dilemma. For a while after high school, I toiled in the factories too. But I couldn’t silence my brain. It was like being in hell.
Stand here, walk there, pick something up, bend down. Now repeat.
Four thousand times.
The funny thing is—in my mind one factory was off-the-chart horrific. In fact, it was so bad that I can’t even remember what we were making. And I only worked there for one day.
One incredibly long, unending day.
It all began, early in the morning, with some man explaining what my job was going to be once I was allowed to cross the threshold and enter the plant. All his instructions have since been erased from my mind. Because I was more focused on what was required to get inside. Earplugs, goggles, gloves, overalls and a gas mask.
I looked and felt like an alien.
To my dismay, a cavernous room waited on the other side of the door, a chasm strikingly similar to Dante’s Inferno. At 7:00 a.m., it was already peopled with faceless drones, unrecognizable behind goggles, gas masks and overalls. Stairs led up and down to nowhere in particular, machines beckoned humans to obeisance. Darkness hung in the air, as if light dared not shine in this place.
And over all of it, there rolled an overwhelming, choking stench. Sulfur. Even the mask I wore couldn’t stop the fumes. My eyes watered. The odor got in my clothes, my hair, my skin. It became part of me. It became my world. It colored the room and the people; it turned everything a hazy yellow ochre.
I couldn’t wait for the day to end, couldn’t wait to peel off the industrial layers and become myself again. In fact, I’m surprised that I didn’t run out the door screaming after an hour. But I will never forget the fact that there were actually people in there, willingly to work in that horrid stench. Willing to drench themselves in something foul every day.
They weren’t in prison. They weren’t wearing shackles. They were there by choice. In a place I couldn’t stand from one minute to the next.
While there was nothing morally wrong with this job, there was something about it that threatened to kill my soul if I stayed.
I guess the moral of the story is the fact that God has a different plan for each one of us. Today I know this is a good thing. Factory work is fine for other people. Back then, it paid well and I had a lot of friends who were more than happy to hang out with a mindless machine all day long. It just wasn’t fine for me. Those same friends would probably think I’m nuts today, laboring over sentences, sometimes spending nearly an hour to find just the right word.
God has a plan for each person. A novel concept. A beautiful concept. And I am so glad that His plan for me didn’t include that horrid factory. Thank you, Lord!
So, here are some other folks who have had odd jobs:
Becky Miller, L.L. Barkat, David Zimmerman.