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Another Perspective

Boxing Day

Today, December 26th, is Boxing Day. It is a time in England and its colonies when homeowners give boxes of gifts to their servants and public employees (mailperson, etc.). When I was young and in seminary, I too worked as a civil servant. I was an intern for Senator Phil Hart of Michigan. This was a training program sponsored by my seminary designed to explore the relationship between the concerns of the church and those of society. The year was 1970.

While public employees are under attack in many states these days, I want to put in a good word for them. Most public employees work behind the scenes. I found them to be very dedicated and capable. 1970 was also a time of distrust of government, so I was surprised by the quality and competence of those who served the various Senators. Living in Sacramento, I have many clients who are State employees. They too work hard for the rest of us without getting their 15 minutes of fame.

I urge you to say “thank you” to every public employee you encounter not only today, but also into the new year. This display of gratitude is increasingly expressed to those who serve us in the military. They most certainly deserve our thanks, but so do all the other public employees. Giving a gift to them is good too.

I have one more thing to share with you about our civil servants. This concerns our political leaders and those who want to be our political leaders. It is a poem published in 1966 by the Norwegian Olav H. Hauge. Hauge’s words capture the reality of most politicians as they run for office.

Today I Saw

Today I saw
two moons,
one new
and one old.
I have a lot of faith in the new moon.
But it’s probably just the old.


Olav H. Hauge, The Dream We Carry, Selected Poems of, Robert Bly and Robert Hedin, trans. (Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2008) 61. Robert Hedin was the translator of this poem.
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