Monday, October 21, 2013

Bent Over Women

The sewing machine was humming away as I shortened several pairs of pants. I clipped and cut and stitched and pinned. It didn't take long before my back was aching.

I moved around, walked, stretched. Soon, returning to the machine, the ache came back and I was reminded, once again, of what hard work it is to bend over all day.

Quite a few years back I heard a woman pastor, now Bishop Minerva Carcano of the United Methodist Church, preach about the bent over women of our world. Bishop Carcano, speaking from her Latina heritage, told of long days in fields of lettuce and grapes, but she could have been telling the stories of women sitting in front of sewing machines in Vietnam or the Philippines or Bangladesh.

My task was soon done but I thought of my preacher friend and her words about bent over women. I walked off the back ache, but still I pondered about how other hands assembled these clothes. From half way around the world, the pants that I shortened served as a reminder for me of hands that assemble, hands that sew, hands that harvest, and of backs that ache.

We who walk into Walmart or Kohl's and want the latest and greatest and cheapest ought to give pause now and then, and think about where the goods that we buy come from.

Whose hands stitched the jeans that I wear? Who sewed on the buttons? Who guided the embroidery machine? Maria? Juanita? Consuela?

Bent over, somewhere, someone did.

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