Life & Work

by Step on November 30, 2011

Gluckstadt, Mississippi is a commodity of a place. Its only obvious value is its proximity to Jackson. For most of my life it has been just another exit off I-55. My in-laws moved there though, and it became the setting of two of the most significant moments of my life.

Last Thanksgiving my family and I traveled there from Hot Springs for the holdiay. The morning after we arrived we received a call from our pediatrician’s nurse. Our youngest child (Noah) had not grown in a number of months. Trying to identify the cause, our doctor had ordered blood work the week before our trip. The nurse had received the results and wanted us to come in that morning to repeat the test. When my wife told her we were out of town, the nurse asked when we planned to return. She said it was important that we conduct a follow-up test as soon as possible to rule out a possible issue. After several minutes of pressing questions from my wife, the nurse admitted that Leukemia was a concern.

In an instant, my perspective on life changed.

The next several hours were filled with phone calls, prayer and tears. Fortunately, an old friend from the Jackson area is a pediatrician. We were able to get in touch with him through his office and he agreed to see us that afternoon. He performed the necessary test and processed the results while we waited. Noah’s original test results had apparently been skewed by a bacterial infection. There was no sign of Leukemia. Thankfulness came easily that year.

My other Gluckstadt incident was much less dramatic but in a way, just as significant. On a different visit my oldest son (Sam) and I went to the grocery store together to pick up a few things. As we drove, we chatted about random things. After a pause in the conversation, Sam said, “Daddy, I hope I work at Chick-fil-A someday.” I asked why. “Because it’s a good job,” he said. I asked what he thought made it good. “Well,” he said, “it gives you a way to provide for your family, it lets you take care of people and it’s fun”

Sam’s thoughts are helpful if you understand the first story. On that awful day of what-ifs, it was irrelevant if Noah would ever produce a paycheck or help people or even have fun. We weren’t afraid of the loss of his potential. We were terrified we might lose him.

Many of us have confused what we do with who we are. A profession is a beautiful thing but it is no substitute for personhood.

So if you have a job that provides for your family, or helps people, or is fun; you have something good. And if you have a job with all three, congratulations on finding the sweet spot. Regardless, your job is still just a spot. Jobs are like towns. They are not life itself, but are instead, places to live. And the people of a place can make that spot magical, even places like Gluckstadt, Mississippi.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Briana November 30, 2011 at 11:50 am

Thank you! I’m going to pass this on to someone who needs to hear this…

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Step November 30, 2011 at 4:19 pm

My pleasure! Thanks for reading, Briana. I hope your friend finds it encouraging.

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Gwen May 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Step, being that Gluckstadt is my little town that I live in, I have to agree with you. It’s a quiet little forgotten stretch of road on I-55, but when my family piles in here on the holidays or just “happy trips” to visit granny, it’s a place that immediately becomes transformed in to a magical, fun filled lively area. Yes, I agree. It’s not the town, not the job, not anything but the people you love who fill those spaces up for you.

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