To Be Of Use

I’ve been officially unemployed for almost a month now, a unique experience in my life. I’m lucky in that, I know. But having been a working person for the past 30 consecutive years (I consider earning my degrees part of my working career), I have to say that I stink at not working. I’ve been showing up at our office almost every day, adapting to a 9-5, Monday thru Friday schedule, and frantically spending my off-hours cleaning my house or mowing the lawn. Many of my coworkers are the same way–we work as we always have.

I’m reminded of Robert Frost’s poem, “Two Tramps in Mudtime” in which the narrator talks about his love of splitting wood, his pleasure at the strain of the chore. His quote: “My avocation and vocation/Like two eyes, make one in sight”.  Like that character, we are people who love what we do. When we lost our outlet for expressing that love, we experienced profound feelings of grief and loss, and have had to come to grips with our compulsion to express ourselves in other ways. Lisa has cleaned her garage and is frantically pickling and preserving fall produce. Abby is comforting herself with daily Nutella sandwiches. Steve P continues to put in 8-10 hours a day in the office on the computer. I listen to hours of books on tape. We each have our ways of ignoring reality.

But there have been many beautiful moments for us in the weeks since tropical storm Irene raged through our store. The love and sympathy and support from our loyal shoppers has been a tsunami, dwarfing the flood that we experienced in comparison. We are humbled, and blessed, and more dedicated than ever to getting back on our feet–and getting everybody employed again.


PS–to all those I work with, and for all those who helped us in our recovery effort, I dedicate the reference of the following poem: (To Be Of Use, by Marge Percy)


Robin PotwinSeptember 22nd, 2011 at 9:57 PM

I love the poem!

Diana BrownOctober 27th, 2011 at 5:07 PM

from Diana Brown Amelia, your blog entry here was posted a day later on the WFM facebk page and that is where I left the following comment:

Amelia, You are all in our prayers, and have been since day one. I pray , now, that should I ever face a similar disaster, that I will respond with the same grace and fortitude as have so many who have lost so much. I do think the gratitude… so readily expressed by you and all at the WFM, eloquently and readily, has been the amplifier. My mum used to say, “what blesses one blesses all” . Every time I feel anxious about all this, I recall some beautiful selfless action or thought I have heard about, many from WFM . It always helps.To be of Use, indeed. Thank you.