Monday, August 4, 2008

the lowly paper route

It has come to my attention that some people see this paper route thing as a very low position on the totem pole of life. That I have somehow demeaned myself by delivering papers in the middle of the night, and that just about anything would be better than that. I feel compelled to respond to this... not to justify myself; well ok, maybe I do want to justify myself.

One thing about a paper route is that I feel no long term commitment to it. I did not intend to only work it for 1 month, but at the same time I knew I would not feel any sort of burden in quitting whenever the time came. It fit my schedule. I can still get everyone where they need to be or insure that they have a car to get there. And I can pay my kids to help me with it. Nobody cares what I wear... in fact my normal "wardrobe" is standard fare. I love driving, I love solitude. The money isn't bad for a part time job. Learning the streets and subdivisions has been fun. Monday is garbage day, and it's amazing what people in rich neighborhoods put out for the garbage; today I picked up a lawn mower for my husband that just needs a little bit of work. If I had been able to lift it I would have picked up a chair as well.. I should have gone back for that. Last week I picked up a high $$ baby backpack that someone will appreciate. The only thing I don't like is that I can't sleep in the daytime.

Yes, I could have sought out a "real job" in aviation, the field of my college major and pre-children employment. But that would have ended up being a profession that would take all my time. Homeschooling and Martial Arts need to be my "profession" at the moment. I just needed something quick and easy with little commitment to make a bit of money for us to catch up.

As I drive my route each morning I also have the opportunity to pray... for the people I meet, for the churches I pass, for the people who live in those houses where I deliver papers. And sometimes I just drift along, letting my mind wander. And sometimes I am half asleep. This morning the police stopped me, it happens a lot as I drive through the neighborhoods. But today they asked me to look out for a car they were searching for. That added a bit of adventure to my morning. And I did find a car fitting their description, but it wasn't the right one.

And, of course, God has been teaching me things these last few weeks that have only come up because of this paper route. Humility in having to admit I can't cope with the schedule. The reminder that I am not invincible. Testing - how will I react to that grumpy old man, or the obviously non-believing co-workers. My friends who have expressed concern for my welfare, prayed for me, and even tentatively offered me job that I would never have considered before the paper route (more on that later). The impetus that I needed to pursue new karate students and possibly new classes. Seeing my husband's wisdom as he gently pointed out to me that this paper route is preventing me from doing all the things that are most important to me. As my mind rebounds from the sleep deprivation I am sure there will be a lot more realizations about this interesting month of my life.

So no, there is nothing lowly or demeaning in running a paper route. It's a good source of extra income. It has been fun and I hate to give it up. But it is not for me right now.

I can't wait to sleep an entire night...
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