I was in the bathroom of a local store the other day and overheard a conversation that is still bothering me. Two employees were at the end of their shift and were standing at the sink talking about their commute when I walked in, so I know who was talking, but I don’t really “know” either woman.
Apparently one has a long drive and made the comment that she has to stop at a convenience store on the way home and go to the bathroom again before she gets home. The other said that she was glad she only lived twenty minutes away because she would not be able to stop anywhere; unless she lets her truck run for several minutes before putting it in gear, it dies and she is afraid she wouldn’t get home.
I’ve seen both of these women in the store for several years. Both of them are over forty. Both of them seem to be hard-working employees. Both of them are pleasant to customers. Both of them, it seems, are living with daily struggles even though they are working.
We focus a lot on the unemployed, but I know from my experience in retail and my husband’s current job in retail that many people in our country ARE employed, but at minimum wage, and without benefits because retailers notoriously hire employees at less than forty hours so they are not required to offer them insurance or other benefits. There are people all over the country who are working in physically and emotionally demanding jobs for wages that barely support their daily needs. When I worked in retail it was one of the THREE jobs that I had at the time.
Oh, I know that many people are in situations of their own making. I know that some have the opportunity for advancement or are working service jobs while they get an education. Everyone has a different story. But I think it is important to remember that some of those stories are sad and are stories of crisis and circumstances, of poor health and accidents, of marriages gone bad, and spouses dying unexpectedly. There are a lot of people, women in particular, who are in low-paying jobs struggling each day to survive. I plan to treat them well and pray for them specifically. I hope you will too.