It was about 8 pm on Sunday night. I was driving home after a long day at work.
A good day, but a long one, and so I was thinking about how good it would be to lie down on the couch and relax.
I was waiting for the light to turn green at the corner of Church and Main. It was a long wait, so I had time to look around — even take a picture. Watertown Savings Bank, which has been undergoing renovations for months, was all lit up. Three men were up on the scaffolding, working, lights on their hard hats. They were pointing and talking and getting ready to move some materials into place. They were hours from finishing their work.
I felt a rush of thankfulness for them. They were a reminder to me that, though my work was done for the day, others were just starting theirs. Some of those people would patrol the streets of my town. Some would be ready should I need medical care right away. Some would bake and clean and transport goods in shops I would patronize in the morn. And some would renovate my bank. Good job, guys.
One of the most beloved prayers in my tradition comes down through the ages from monks who prayed at the end of the day, saying “Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night…” When I worked overnight shifts as a chaplain at a hospital, I came to understand more fully the holiness of the night and the labor that occurs when most of the town is resting.
A salute to the night shift, with whom God indeed keeps watch.