But as time passed we found that with the help of A.A.’s Twelve Steps we could lose those fears, no matter what our material prospects were. We could cheerfully perform humble labor without worrying about tomorrow.
I had somehow appropriated part of the above as my own when I paraphrased “perform humble work gratefully,” or maybe the literature says “perform humble work gratefully” somewhere else.
Those fears that we could lose refer to what came just before, where I am told that while I’m depending on financial security to make me serene, instead of depending on God, I won’t be serene no matter how much money I have or make.
My work has been very humble, at times, and not very financially rewarding. I definitely do it gratefully for at least part of every single day. I can’t describe what a blessing that place and those people are to me. For most of my working life, my job has included giving someone a drink, helping him eat, wiping his butt.
I’m reading a book that was written by one of my college professors. I read it when I was in college but I don’t really remember it. (Except for one part which had something to do with a toilet paper tube and self-gratification. Try going to class after reading that.) In it a very happy butcher tells his son that all of those customers are “my people.” Well MY people are very, very special, and I’m almost always glad to be working with them.
OK. All that said, I have also always had the privilege of not having to completely support myself and my children. When they were very young, and I was on my own with them, I used money I had saved to go to school. When they were a little older and I went to work, I got some child support and lots of help with things like groceries and summer camp for the kids from their grandparents. When they were a bit older still and I stopped getting child support and my rent was raised, I met Carole, and we moved in with her (a year later) and so I’ve been able to do my humble, low-paying work and not have to look for a better paying job to support myself and my kids.
And I do worry about tomorrow. But not too terribly much. I think I’m at the age where I see some of my contemporaries dying young, more and more of them, of course. But they haven’t yet reached the age where they’re unable to provide for themselves in their old age. My material prospects, though are probably above average, and compared to most of the rest of the world, I’m afraid I could be part of that 1%.