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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The labels we wear

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I recently discovered a new identity.

Apparently, I'm a "get-byer." The law of averages indicates that you, too, are most likely, a "get-byer."

We have our place in the culture -- supporting the economy by earning a wage and expending those wages in the marketplace. And, according to the writer, that's pretty much our entire reason for being. The "get-byer" designation is one of only three possibilities, the writer states. The other choices are "doers" or "slackers." Class warfare, anyone?

I keep hearing the bell toll for newspapers and surely, some of the big names are gone. I still miss "My Rocky," though it has been out of production for years. But, today, just as has been the case for 15+ years of days, I contributed to another edition of the McCook Daily Gazette, and barring the total collapse of society, I expect to continue to be a part of that effort for my remaining days of "getting by," earning a living and expending that wage in the marketplace. It's the least I can do, unless I covet the title "slacker."

Newspapers, especially community newspapers like the Gazette, aren't going anywhere. Certainly, we have had to dive into mobile technology or risk being left completely behind, but the principle product we make (because paper really does grow on trees, and trees are a renewable resource), cannot be duplicated. McCook, Nebraska, is a one-of-a-kind community, and we help tell the story of McCook, and all of Southwest Nebraska.

Just this week I sat down with Kyle Conroy. Kyle has worked behind the counter at Kohl's Auto Parts for 8 years. I have been going into parts stores for more than 40 years, and it was fun to go behind the counter, just for a moment, and view the world from that perspective. I'm supposing that if we're going to label people, however, Kyle would be in my crowded, leaking boat, with all the rest of us "get-byers."

I've got news. Just because you aren't sharing the spotlight with the likes of George Norris, a "doer" if there ever was one, that doesn't mean you haven't contributed anything exceptional. I don't suppose Kyle is expecting an "Eternal Light" memorial for his work at Kohl's, nor do I expect one for my meager offerings at the newspaper.

Nevertheless, I can state, with certainty, that Kyle matters a great deal more than his paycheck. As do I. And I wholly reject the writer's attempt to pigeonhole Kyle, me, or anyone else.

I have spent the entirety of my life living as a get-byer and living among my fellow get-byers, and I'm here to tell you, we do much more than just "get by."

They were a young, hard-working couple. No kids, yet. They were still trying to establish a painting company in Wichita, Kansas, which meant the hours were long and the pay short more often than not. They lived in a modest mobile home, and got by, day-by-day. And one day, the wife saved my life. No, she didn't drag me from a burning building or pluck me out of a raging river. She simply listened one day, all day, and in so doing, helped to lift me out of the worst depression I had ever known. At 19, I was immobilized by a dark depression and I despaired.

Danny also was all of 19. Our firstborn son was in the neonatal intensive care unit at a Billings, Montana, hospital. I was in the hospital in Worland, Wyoming, having just given birth and had not yet received the doctor's OK to travel. As Danny sat in the "father's waiting room" (a now archaic designation), a woman joined him there. We have no reason to believe she was any different from the rest of us "get-byers," yet by example, she taught Danny to pray as she prayed for our son, her grandson losing his fight in the isolette next to his.

The founding fathers, who didn't hold themselves up as "doers," rejected the entire idea of class warfare. In fact, they made a principle point by stating in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal." History now calls them "doers," a designation I believe only history can make.

To assume that those who expend their life energy to keep supper on the table "give no thought to making the world a better place through positive, exceptional effort" displays an ignorance of human nature that goes beyond the pale. In my experience, get-byers have done far more to make the world a better place through positive, exceptional effort, at every opportunity. Certainly, the young wife in Wichita has no idea the place she holds in my heart, nor does the grandmother in Billings know that her faith, displayed on that terrible day of her mourning, took root in the heart of my husband.

We are created for community. We are inter-dependent and our lives are woven together, one thread at a time, and every single one of us matters, even, I dare-say, the third category, the so-called "slackers." Far be it for me to pass judgment on those who are "taking up space and breathing good air" while contributing "little if anything" to the community.

Chris Rice, singer/songwriter, warns against such in his song "The Face of Christ" on his "Short Term Memories" CD: acknowledging in the bridge, "See you had no choice which day you would be born;

Or the color of your skin, or what planet you'd be on;

Would your mind be strong, would your eyes be blue or brown;

Whether daddy would be rich, or if momma stuck around at all"

I remember another young woman in Wichita, who would have probably met the criteria for this third designation, yet one day, she too stepped into my then deepening depression, spending more than an hour removing the tangles from my hair, tangles that had proven to be too much for me.

History, it is sometimes said, is the final judge. Yet history only has room for "doers," whether they be doers of great good, or doers of great evil. Only God knows and rightly judges the heart of every man. It is the height of hubris for any man to attempt it, especially while elevating one man above any other to do so. Neither Kyle nor I expect to be mentioned in even the barest footnote of history, yet we matter, our stories matter, because those we touch, matter.

"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books." Revelation 20:11, 12 (NIV)

I don't have all the answers, but I know and love the One who does. Let's walk in his love and discover him together.


Read 'The rest of the story' here: http://www.mccookgazette.com/story/19349...

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Thank you, Dawn!!

-- Posted by doodle bug on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 6:21 PM

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Dawn of a New Day