As a serious looker
She wore a millstone
Round her neck
Never experiencing a vocation
To the see tossing
This is a Monday mourning poem for awe of you wage slaves. It is far too common for working folks to dread their work, particularly Monday morning. I suspect that the overwhelming majority of workers have fantasized, perhaps even planned a little, about embarking on some other vocation than their current trajectory of work and career. Given the tumultuous nature of many workers’ work life, I am at times taken aback by how “even,” or even fateful, they seem, and how even relatively few “serious lookers” actually take the plunge into the apparent abyss. I reflect on my own multiple years process of disentangling from my own long (17-year) career path and “regular” job. After taking the plunge, my income dropped precipitously and my quality of life catapulted to previously unimagined heights. As deliberate, measured and astute that I thought I was, I profoundly underestimated the benefits of taking the plunge. This counts as one of the greatest lessons I have learned in my life.
This poem alludes to the metaphor of a millstone around one’s neck and being tossed into the sea, found in the Bible, Matthew 18:6-9:
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”
This passage sets a high bar, the death penalty, for causing a child of God to stumble, to block the highest hopes in life. This is a powerful condemnation of the bosses and powers that be that crush our dreams in the coarse of their business. I don’t blame workers, wage slaves, for their predicament. Still, the stakes are high for the oppressed worker. Better to “enter life” maimed or crippled than live in hell.
Due, you need a vocation. Longing enough/Too go. However slim it may appear, may you find that ever precious opening to life-affirming vocations…