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I’m up in Maine at my family’s home on Deer Isle. I’m here to do some Fall planting. I’ve got hundreds of bulbs to be planted. I’m excited because here on the island, Spring comes late. Spring is mostly mud season all the way until Memorial Day, and snow after Easter is common. Daffodils are just beginning to bloom in mid-May. The trees have a while before they start leafing out, and so every bit of color and brightness is a welcome gift from Mother Nature each Spring.
Yesterday morning I was looking out the window at first light, well before sunrise, and I saw someone clamming out in our cove. You see, the tide goes completely out at low tide. Every drop of water is gone, and that makes it a perfect place for clammers to come in and dig.
Here on the island, many people make a living through digging for clams. It’s really hard work. You have to bend over but you cannot kneel, because the mud would suck you right in. It’s cold and wet this time of year, and you always have to go when the tide is out. So, if that means 6 a.m. and it’s just over 40 degrees out, so be it.
We let the clammers onto our property and are happy to have them. This means they often drive down our driveway and slip down to the water whenever it’s low tide.
We welcome them because we know they’re working to support their families, and so by supporting them in doing their work we’re supporting their families, too.
So in the first light yesterday, I look out and see a lone clammer out there working to feed his family in the near-dark, cold wet mud. I thought about how many men and women are up well before the sun, doing back-breaking work in order to put food on the table of their loved ones.
I also thought about how sometimes those same people are not able to be emotionally available for their loved ones. Sometimes they pick difficult work that gives them space to be alone because they don’t mix well with others and relationships are really difficult for them.
It’s so important to look at what people do and not just what they say.
Someone who works so hard to support their family might not be good at relationships, but their love and care are evidenced in how hard they work to take care of them.
When I’m traveling, sometimes I’m at the airport between 4 and 5 in the morning and the airport is filled with people at work. People are working for the airlines, for concessions, and there are many people who are traveling for work, as well. All those people working to support many loved ones – because not many people would be motivated to work those hours just to support themselves.
I have learned how important it is to focus more on what people do than what they say. Many people are not that articulate about their feelings, but you can feel the Love in what they choose to do.
Let’s say a prayer to bless all the people who work in the wee hours.