Thursday, November 15, 2012

Black And White? Not Everything.

So there I was, my contented, cheerful self, watching a pleasant documentary at Netflix, one called, of all things, Happy.

(There's a bigtime spoiler coming so you may want to skip this post if you plan on watching this film.)

'Happy' showed nice, feel good stuff, things that make people throughout the world, well, happy. Eventually they showed a young Japanese wife speaking about her husband who worked long hours and was often sent on business trips. He was shown speaking with his darling little girl by way of the computer and then they showed him walking tiredly through the front door when he arrived home days later. His joyful daughter ran to him and it blessed me to see each of their jubilant smiles.

Then we were told this young father died from 'karoshi', the coined Japanese word for death from overwork stress.


They then showed exhausted Japanese men in their 20's and 30's sleeping standing-up on packed subway trains on their way to work, work which never seems to end and overwork which is killing so many young Japanese men that they even have karoshi concerts, benefits, etc. to support all the young widows and their families left without husbands and fathers.

Good grief. I was practically traumatized and I shut it off. Couldn't take anymore Happy.

Why share this sad tale? Well, to say not all good-appearing things (like a high-paying job, an answer to prayer) are black-and-white terrific and to confess that sometimes I find it difficult to be thankful for Tom's job. 

Hey, we're talking about a 55-year-old man who had polio, one who's had a few back surgeries and who has scoliosis, some post-polio stuff, high cholesterol (we're working on that) and--even so--still works 12-hour shifts, making it not uncommon for him to work 120 hours in a two week period. Once he even worked 144 hours.

All the extra money stopped meaning anything 10 years ago, so please don't even go there.

Frankly, it's hard for me, Mrs. Lover of Balance, to be thankful for a lack of balance, common sense and wisdom. That's the opposite of who I am and oh, I often must ask for Grace and Wisdom to help me accept the way things currently are and to not make them worse by complaining and whining to Tom.  But instead, to just make Life comfortable for him at home so he can thoroughly rest the times he is here.

I used to be quite black-and-white about everything--people would shake their heads and tell me that. And ok, in a few areas I still am, areas like-- the only way to get to Heaven is through Jesus. I'm still super black-and-white about that.

But I guess this post is just a reminder for anyone else who may be a black-and-white thinker like I was/occasionally am--that no! Not everything in this life is clear-cut and easy to outline, understand, accept and give thanks for.

I, myself, appreciate such reminders, anything which will keep me from someday becoming the mean old cranky wild-haired lady down the street who's so set in her ways that nobody likes her.  :)


Something else which helped me not be so doggedly there's-only-one-way-to-think-ish? Many episodes of Law and Order. Whew, it blows my mind how they can come up with court cases which shake-up and confuse even the strongest of black-and-whiters like myself. 


Read more about karoshi here.


"Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [[a]in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour."  ... 1 Peter 5:8

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."   ... 1 Thessalonians 5:18



Lori Alexander said...

I am with you on this one. My husband works himself ragged. So many people are always asking them to help them on top of his more than full time job. I am always praying for his health and strength...

K.E. said...

There's a lot of talk about life/work balance, but it sure doesn't seem to happen, especially in large corporations and in "this economy".
Any refusal to keep a balance is seen as a betrayal to the company and people are so desperate to keep their jobs that they don't rock the boat.
I've read articles reporting that people are most efficient working about 45 hours a week.

Anonymous said...

The years my husband's work told them they had to work 12 hour days 7 days a week are done thank fully. He was well into his 50s going through all of this into his 60s. Weeks and weeks of that are too much to go one for months and months. The work is totally physical labor. Finally one year he had a doctor's appointment and the doctor told him he had to work less. If he didn't cut back some hours he would end up having to quit. To do that he had to get a doctor's excuse. The doctor wrote out a letter stating they had to let him work less hours. Only eight hours 7 days a week. Without this doctor's excuse he had to work the 12 hours 7 days each week or they would fire him. The doctor asked him if he lived in America or Russia? He had never heard of a company like that. I am sure there are many many out there. I wonder if the bosses work the 12 hour 7 day weeks for weeks along with the workers??? You are so wise and loving to make the time Tom does have home he best it can be. It is hard giving up some time to be with them to just let them rest but that has to be. They are the ones hurting physically and mentally from this abuse to their bodies. Even a younger man who is physically at the top of his game would have a hard time handling it for a long stretch. Sarah

Sara said...

Ahhh balance...just another word for wisdom me thinks!

Anonymous said...

Such working conditions here in USA are more common, if you have a job, especially now in this economic climate. Bosses know they can demand more because it is hard to make ends meet even with a good job. My hubby had to quit in May though he planned to work at least another 3 years. He is resting now, though had some rest even during our downsizing, purging, moving. Though he worked so hard moving us, at least no boss was screaming, yelling and cursing with the worst of words there are. At least that. I was afraid he would not live long...he got to where he was worried too. So how are we going to survive now? We hope we can on the social security and measily retirement pay. He retired from a govt job no is now 6 months later and he is still getting a stipend as they have not yet figured out and set up his permanent retirement pay. We hope it is finally done by January!! We nor anyone we know in similar work has ever heard of such a thing. But it is how it is now I guess. We will do whatever we must. I told him the other day I wished he had had an easier work life, even with less pay. Oh well...we intend to enjoy whatever time we/he has left!!