An Ode To Mr Gritter Man
By Hannah Kernaghan
Yesterday involved a standard drive home; road rage festering and patience slowly wearing. This of course wasn’t at all helped by the oversized yellow truck driving approximately 3 miles an hour in front of me, chucking out stones that kept hitting my windscreen.
This went on for what seemed like fifty miles (probably was only 2) but as the journey went on I started to mellow a bit, and actually began to appreciate the job of the ‘Gritter Man’.
This was my thinking: here he was, day-in day-out doing the same job for hours on end. All so that our roads aren’t slippy and so that we don’t crash.
Just as quickly as this thought appeared, I suddenly had a great feeling of despondency for the Gritter Man. Each night he would go to bed, having done a days work, never really knowing the impact that he had that day. Never fully understanding how important his job was.
You see his job is to be the preventer. He gets there before the crash. He does everything he can to stop it from happening in the first place by making our roads less slippery. Therefore it is sometimes hard to appreciate his role because he often stops something from happening that never had a chance to potentially happen in the first place.
Just as quickly as the first thought hit me, the second one came in like a brick. For a time in Kids Ministry I had felt somewhat discouraged. There weren’t thousands of kids getting saved every week, there wasn’t many dramatic turn-around stories about kids turning from drink and drugs. Life was just happening and I would do the same thing week in week out, working with these kids in the every day activities wondering whether or not my presence had an impact on them at all.
But here’s the thing: my job (and your job) is primarily to be the preventer. We have the opportunity to get there before the crash. The opportunity to stop something that could be potentially damaging and devastating in a child’s life. To perhaps be their only steady, consistent role model, to sew something so deep that it actually lasts into adulthood. Our relationships with kids have the potential to build them up, encourage them and set them up with the sort of outlook and self value that prevents them from looking to the world for fulfillment. Causing them to make the association of church with love, acceptance, value and belonging.
We won’t often see this work, or ever know if we’ve made a difference in this way but our job is vital. How much greater is it to stop something happening, than to try and fix it when it does happen?
So thank-you Mr Gritter Man. Though we don’t always see the effect of your work, if you were to disappear we would soon notice you missing.