Monday, December 21, 2015

On standing...

On standing. . .

My job requires a lot of standing. Dressed in a suit and tie, I stand in the back, by the doors, or in the foyer, where I can give assistance if needed. Sometimes, I stand off to the side while the services are going on. At these times, I feel as I am on sentry duty, as if in the military. I pretend that my dark suit, is a military dress uniform. I have a solemn duty: to stand guard and to honor.

Generally, I do not mind. However, I am not as disciplined as the military. I cannot stand still like a statue for long periods of time. My mind and body wanders.

I begin to think about people who do a lot of standing for their work. There seems to be a division between those whose work requires much standing, and those whose work requires much less. Who then are the “standers”? 

At the top of this list are those in the military, especially those in sentry posts who I pretend that I am emulating. Other “standers” are teachers and coaches, nurses and doctors, farmers, security guards, factory workers and salespeople including cashiers.

What do they have in common?

They all are in positions of service. Regardless of whether the job is directly involved with caring for people such as nurses and teachers, or more indirectly such as salespeople, cashiers and farmers, their work requires movement and closeness.  Physical strain is an everyday occurrence.

Most of the “standers” are not thinkers; they are doers. They do not sit behind a desk, or in front of a computer, but rather are out and about doing their jobs. Jobs that are to be done in all types of conditions, and too often without thanks, for these are the overlooked positions. Not glamorous out of the lime-light, those who stand provide the basic services and tasks that are needed.

Standing requires being present.  As kids we were taught to stand at attention. You cannot “phone it in"; you actually have to be there, and do the task.

I am also reminded that many people cannot stand. Their health will not allow it. I think that most people who are confined to a bed or a wheelchair, who are racked by arthritis or Parkinson’s would like to be able to stand. Perhaps I should see it as a blessing: a small sign that I am healthy.

It is in little things that I find understanding. Standing is often overlooked. It is a little thing, yet it means a lot. It means that I am present, and that I am healthy. Next time our legs get sore and we become restless, we need to remember that standing is a good thing . . . but then, so is sitting, especially after a long day of standing. That is a gift in itself!