“Fed Up” – At least that’s what I’m told happens when there is a mix up between FedEx and UPS. Well, I am now officially a package handler for Federal Express. I can honestly say that it is one of the hardest jobs – physically – that I have had to do in my entire life. Unloading containers, lifting boxes up to 150 lbs, pushing around containers that are upwards of 4000 lbs and sweating like a dog are all part of this athletic vocation.
During my first week on the job I was talking to one of my fellow new hired employees who had just gotten out of the Army. He told me that he felt like he was in boot camp again. Well, it has been difficult on this 45 year old wimpy body of mine, but the soreness is beginning to diminish, thankfully, and I am beginning to apply the techniques that I am learning from helpful coworkers, and maybe next week I will be so fortunate as to receive my official uniform.
Although, for me, this is not a new career endeavor, but rather a “gap vocation” as I wait on God’s ministry direction for my life. It is, nevertheless, an opportunity to serve and glorify Him. I am amazed at the many lessons God is teaching me already. Here is a list of ways I have contemplated this experience so far:
- I have a greater appreciation for those who work in such physically demanding vocations. They work exceptionally hard, often in very dangerous surroundings, and yet, they show up for Bible Study, Prayer meetings, Saturday work days, all while caring for the needs of their families. They are God’s troopers!
- Those who don’t know the Lord are real people who have sons, daughters, mortgages and personal struggles. They appreciate kindness, interest in their families and a smiling face at work. Most enjoy a healthy conversation, a word of encouragement and being accepted as they are for who they are.
- Christians stick out! On my first day at work I was introduced as the Preacher. Well, that’s one way to get the cat out of the bag! I am not sure if that was a warning to others or simply a respectful remark on the part of the Team Leader. Either way, I am a marked man and I am very aware that eyes are on me to be consistent, honest and hard working.
- Some companies truly care about their employees. It is very clear to me that FedEx works hard at providing the proper protection, care and assistance needed to come alongside of their employees. Now, certainly they demand a lot – precision on time cards, hustle, diligence, etc. – yet they are trying foster a healthy work environment built on loyalty, ethics and teamwork.
- I am glad that my uniform is blue and not brown! Sorry to all you UPS workers, but I just don’t look good in brown so I am thankful for the blue, purple and orange combo. Hey, these things are important.
But, enough about me. There is a point to all this rambling about my experience at FedEx and it is this. I think that sometimes, because we are often entrenched in our own calling in life (i.e. working at the Post Office, Teaching in a school, working in the IT department of a software company or serving on the staff of a local church) that we tend to see life only through the lens of our own experiences.
I think that God has given me new glasses to appreciate and understand people better and I encourage you to prayerfully consider if you need a fresh appreciation for what some of your friends, fellow church attendee’s and neighbors face week-in week-out. How you can pray for them, come along side them and truly be an encouragement for the glory of God.
I am thankful for the way I am being Fed Up-wards through this experience. It is a hard change for me, but one that I know God is using to grow me to be like His Son Jesus Christ.