Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Volunteering at the cannery


Today I volunteered at the Mesa wet pack cannery. With hair net, rubber gloves, earplugs, 20-second soaped hands.. We bottled maple syrup. I don’t know whether it was the real stuff or not. We bottled syrup for 4 ½ hours. My job was to put a little red cap on the bottle and give just one twist. It couldn’t be too tight. That’s what I did for four hours by a conveyor belt, and my pant legs around my ankles got completely soaked from all the water that was dripping of the conveyor belt. (It had to be mechanically sprayed down to keep it from getting uncleanably sticky from any spilled syrup.) I was sooooo glad that this kind of assembly line work is not my day job!

It was really interesting how we were oriented to the job. They showed a 9 minute video that started out with the really well known comedy sketch of Lucille Ball scrambling to wrap chocolates on an assembly line and getting totally backed up as the conveyor belt whizzed by at high speed. (Hilarious and painful to watch at the same time.) Then the video switched to showing the church’s wet pack canning, with lots of inspiring music. As a viewer I got the feeling that this operation was not a hurry-hurry type of thing and that it was more worker friendly. We saw people working factory equipment. We saw people smiling. We saw lots of bottles of food. Then the scope of the video began to include other parts of the church welfare program. We saw people weeding fields of crops. We saw people working at Deseret Industries. We saw people in Africa getting boxes of donated clothes. We saw people shopping at the bishop’s storehouse. We saw families eating. We saw a whole bunch of these things in really short clips one after another, bam, bam, bam, and I started to feel overwhelmed by the wonder of all of it. I thought, Man, if the Lord gave me a heavenly vision of the whole scope of the church’s welfare program, I think this is exactly what I would see! And that’s when it hit me that it was important for me to have this vision, this global view of the great work I would be engaged in so that I could appreciate it as more than just some piddle-y mind-numbing task, and the video was meant to give that vision to everybody.

You may think I’m a complete dweeb, but I was so inspired by what I saw that the first two hours I worked away quite happily, amusing myself by singing hymns.

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