These thoughts came to mind this week when a niece asked about my days working in the coal mines. Her question was, “When you worked in the coal mine, you were in the safety department, weren’t you?” Not exactly her words, but the gist of her question.
“No, I was a regular coal miner.”
At that time, the department of mine safety was ready to require all coal mines to have Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) in the mines. This was new, and I thought to get in on the ground floor, so to speak. (Or was it the underground floor?) I decided to go to work as a coal miner, and when that requirement came to fruition, surely, I would be a shoo-in for the position. This is the line of thinking I presented to my family so they wouldn’t be too worried. Surely, I wouldn’t make coal mining my life’s work.
The mine where I worked was owned by International Harvester (IH), whom you know to be a builder of trucks and heavy equipment. At the time, IH owned coal and iron ore mines. Those products were sold to the company itself for the production of steel for the manufacture of their trucks and heavy equipment. Ours was a captive mine and ongoing employment seemed pretty secure.
Eventually, IH determined it could buy steel from other manufacturers more economically. Both coal and iron ore mines were sold, and a few years later unemployment became an issue.
The law requiring EMTs did go into effect, but the company was way ahead of me. They had people in the same class I was. So my plan didn’t work. So was I in the safety department?
No, I started as a general laborer and progressed to become an equipment operator. Always on the lookout for advancement, I earned my foreman’s certification, and by the time the mine closed I was also certified to teach all aspects of mining except electrical.
The men of the crew were always respectful. I don’t know if other mines which hired women prepared their male employees for the coming of women but ours had. And not just the foremen, but all the miners as well.
Was there danger? Yes, daily.
Were there close calls? Yes to that, too.
I wouldn’t change that part of my life in any way. I enjoyed my work in the mines and learned a lot.
There was opportunity to fellowship with other Christians during the workday, as well as to be a living witness of Jesus while working side by side with those still needing to know Him.
You know, that part is not so much different from any other work place.
Our daily lives need to speak of the love of Christ so others will want to know Him, too. Be His representative wherever you are.
Oh! You don’t know Him? There’s no better time to make His acquaintance. Just humbly speak to Him and invite Him into your heart and life.