Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)
Youngest son started his job as a lifeguard at our county pool this week. He got his lifeguard certification two years ago, but his previous life guarding experience was combined with his summer employment as a river guide for a Boy Scout camp on the New River in Virginia. In that capacity, he instructed students how to canoe, rescued them when they got stuck on rocks or fell overboard, administered first aid and drove a van pulling the trailer of canoes. Every day was a varied schedule with different groups of young people and their adult leaders. The weather and river conditions also changed daily. He came home with lots of stories about the people and experiences he went through. This summer will be different. Other than another trip to Brazil and competing at the national EMT competition, he is staying home. Partly because he is in love and partly because he is volunteering with our county fire department and wants to get as much experience as possible before he goes to fire academy in the fall. So, he decided to get a job as a life guard. As it is spring break, he worked four days with seven hours each day. They rotate from station to station around the pool changing “chairs” every thirty minutes. Included in the rotation are thirty minute breaks to eat lunch or to swim as they must practice their skills each day. Last night after only his second day on the job, he came home and announced, “I hate my job.” Where did that come from? It turns out he is bored just sitting in the chair watching the pool all day. “I only got to blow my whistle three times,” he complained. Husband and I had to laugh. The job of lifeguard sounds so glamorous. Sit in the sun, watch girls in bikinis tan, be cool and in charge, but compared to the life of a river guide, it is dull and uneventful. Still, he recognizes he is lucky to have a job at all, and, it is probably better than bagging groceries. I know how he feels. While good things happen in our jobs, and we have successes that make us proud, there are those all too frequent days when the drudgery of the routine threatens to wipe out any memories of why we like our work. Youngest son said, “I guess it would be selfish of me to hope someone drowns so I have something to do wouldn’t it?” I smiled and nodded. He’ll keep getting up each day and putting on his handsome red bathing suit and his white t-shirt that says, “Lifeguard,” and go to sit in a chair, whistle and floatation device in hand, just in case someone does something stupid. He will do it for a paycheck, but he will also do it because that’s the kind of man he has become. Reliable, hardworking, eager to help. He has a servant’s heart. I’m proud of him.