I read the sentence to Joey’s booklet and frowned.
“I also want my mom to get a real and good job so we can have lots of money for things. This is what will make my family better.”
A real and good job? I had a real job. And it wasn’t just good, it was great! Whatever made him think that the place I worked five, sometimes six, days a week, and occasionally at odd hours wasn’t real?
Surely he had heard these comments made by his older brother and was mimicking them. Either way, they both needed to be set straight.
My so-called “pretend” job involves working at a Catholic church in Manchester. I couldn’t help but wonder if they had come to this ridiculous conclusion because I love going to work every day. Somehow, we have equated a working job with something to be unpleasant, but necessary, to make a living.
But my job has brought me nothing but happiness and joy since I started it nearly a year ago. I run the office, and my duties are many and varied. With the recent departure of the liturgical director, they have expanded to include not just the administrative tasks, but the liturgical essentials as well.
With a small group of volunteers, we decorated the entire church for the Christmas season and will take on the daunting task of putting Christmas away now that the Epiphany has passed. Our church sees, on average, two funerals each month, sometimes more. I coordinate with the funeral home the arrangements to be made and assist at the Mass itself.
I take care of the permanent records and getting certificates drawn up and delivered to the recipients, from new baptisms to somebody who is tracking his descendants.
I field the many phone calls that come in from people inquiring about our food pantry. I create and maintain the literature about our church, including the weekly bulletin, brochures, flyers and special event notices.
I am resurrecting our website from scratch and will have the challenge of maintaining it. And this is just a small portion of my day-to-day duties.
So, why does one think that what I do does not amount to a real job when I say I work at a church? Perhaps they have stepped away from the church and have not witnessed or celebrated a sacrament, such as a baptism or marriage or funeral?
Because then they wouldn’t ever question the procedures or how it all comes together for such a celebration, let alone the daily and weekend regular Masses. Or, if they have dealt with an employee of a church, they have experienced understanding, compassion and kindness, qualities I must practice every day.
By the way, being nice comes very easy when you are doing something you love. Surely somebody who is happy and understanding and kind isn’t really “working.” Because people who work are unhappy, right?
Everybody knows that there isn’t a whole lot of money to be made if you do, in fact, work at a church. Surely, then, I am not doing this job for the money.
Perhaps this is what Joey meant in his journal. And if that’s the case, then perhaps he needs to help out here at the food pantry sometime so that he can see just how fortunate he is compared to so many who have much less.
We have all heard the saying that money can’t buy you happiness. I am proof of that, because I have never been happier at a job. What it lacks in pay, it more than makes up in other areas.
It is a ministry, one that I am proud to be a part of, and I will never stop loving what I do, no matter how many times I’m asked where I work. Ministries are just as important careers as those in medicine or engineering, retail or marketing. It’s all in the way you look at it.
And, yes, it most definitely is a real job
Kerri Stanley is a resident of Londonderry, involved with several local organizations. Her column appears monthly in the Derry News.