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What I do for a Living

My neighbor and I ran into each other on our way from work and we began to talk. After introducing ourselves and attempting to part and head for our respective walkways, she asked “what do you do for a living?”
“Nothing,” I replied
“What, you don’t work? Do you go to school full time or what?”
“I work, but that is not what is keeping me alive.”
“Okay….” She rolled her eyes in a fashion expecting me to say more.
“Well I am wrong when I say I do nothing for living.”
“So what do you do for a living?” She tried to rephrase her original question without realizing that she was repeating the exact same words.
“I trust God.”
“We all do….”
“I don’t doubt that but for me I gave my life to Jesus years ago and since then, I depend on Him for everything on a daily basis.”

I could sense that her impatience which had built up was calming down. This gave me an opportunity to go on and on. I told her about those years when I did not work but lived maybe happily. I took her on a journey some ten to twenty years back and explained how during those years I lived even though I did “nothing for a living.”

“That was a different situation, you are in America now.” She countered.
“I know but the same God who fed, clothed and took care of me has not changed. He can do it again. He is the true vine and in as much as I keep attached to him as a branch; my supply line will remain open.”
“Are you a preacher or something?”
“No I am just a believer. I have been through a lot of circumstances and my experience has taught me that like the ones before, any storm can also pass”
“So what happens when you lose your job?”
“The lord will still be faithful to supply all my needs.”
“Pay the bills and take care of your family?”
“All my needs, that’s what I said.”
“What if….?”
“I was there before and I made it through…” I interrupted. “There are other things that are important to me and make me happy besides money and jobs and material possessions”

She turned around and left without saying a word but shaking her head. The weather outside was cold and so I did not take offense to her abrupt departure. We both were feeling the effect of the temperature in the low teens.

When we spoke again two or three days later, our conversation was focused on how we defined ourselves by the jobs we do or the careers we pick up. I am a software engineer, I am a commercial truck driver; I am a social worker, Nursing Assistant, banker, teacher, etc. We both laughed at the notion of defining ourselves by the role a business (which goal is to make profit) assigned to us and came to a conclusion that a job title or career choice is not exactly who we are. What if the job is taken away through layoffs or we pick up other careers along the way? Who we are therefore not what we do but what remains when every thing else is taken away.

So who are you and what do you do for a living?

Author’s Note
Oh my God! Barney the Dinosaur was right about the power of imagination. I cannot believe that I have had a lengthy discussion spanning over three days with a neighbor without ever leaving my seat!

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