No, not THAT Joe. You probably thought I was going to go all political. Nope. Not in this post. Quite frankly I’m a little exhausted after watching two full weeks of conventions where I found myself getting caught up and joining in on this crazy illusion created by the media that we are a terrible nation divided and angry. We’re not of course. Most of us get along quite nicely, so long as we don’t talk too much about politics, religion or face masks.
This post is about my super quirky relationship with Saint Joseph. You know of the guy right? Mary’s husband, the step dad of Jesus and one of the bible’s most unsung heros, where he is not even given an honorable mention in thirteen of the New Testament books nor in the Gospel of Mark. What the heck?!
About ten years ago, when we were trying to unsuccessfully sell our house, our good friend and realtor suggested we try appealing to Saint Joseph the patron saint of (among many things) real estate. As a newer convert to the catholic faith, the idea of burying a small statue of Saint Joseph, praying a novena until the house sold and then unburying his statue and placing him in a place of honor had a rather bohemian voodoo kind of flair that appealed to my eclectic nature when it came to embracing the mysterious possibilities of all religions. So we did it. And the house literally sold in two days.
Fast forward a few years later when my mom died, leaving behind two mortgages and her amazing dog Hooch, who was the best inheritance a girl like me could have asked for. We were in a cash poor pickle, trying to sell at least one of her houses right in the middle of a recession. So we put St Joe back in the ground, and voila, the house sold again, just as quickly. Catholic MAGIC.
THEN, a few years later, when I was a sales rep for a carpet mill and seeking a downtown location I could afford for a showroom, my agent at the time showed me the PERFECT space that I could absolutely NOT afford. It was literally twice my budget. But here’s the kicker: the building was called the Josef Center. WHAAAT???? So you can see how it made perfect rational sense to place the statue of Joe in my purse next to the small urn of my mom’s ashes, since there was no place to bury him. I figured he could hang out with my mom while I prayed my novena and let Joe chat with God for me to help decide if it was right for me to have the space. It took a little longer this time, but in about three months, Saint Joseph came out of my purse and was placed above my door at the Josef Center where I was able to lease the space for half what the original asking price was. God’s honest truth!
Now, I own my own commercial flooring agency with my husband and am still in the same space. However, during the interim, the Saint Joe statue was somehow lost. I had been on and off again looking at larger spaces to potentially relocate to with an industry partner. We found a really awesome building that felt perfect in all things except timing. I still had a year and a half left on the lease in my current space AND we were in the middle of a pandemic that had drastically affected our sales. Feeling completely uncertain, I ordered a new statue of Joe on Amazon so he could help me make the right decision.
I had been really struggling with discipline and work ethic since the first of the year. We had an amazing year and a half as new business owners and usually I am completely fueled and propelled forward when I have success. But for some reason I had hit a wall and felt like I was just going through the motions without any fire in me. Then the pandemic hit and I became even more uncertain as to how to rev back up. Things felt flat and without purpose and I was questioning whether or not I was even meant to be in sales, let alone sell carpet. I wondered if the idea of moving to a larger space was a way to distract me from what I was supposed to be doing OR if it would be a catalyst to new inspiration. A serious quandary.
Then my new statue arrived complete with a novena card which ironically had NOTHING to do with real estate and it kind of rocked my world. Here it is in its whole:
Prayer to Saint Joseph the Worker
O glorious Saint Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always before death my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after your example, O Patriarch, Saint Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death.
So, I put the statue back above my door at the Josef Center next to a piece of tourmaline, a crystal that helps keep out negative energy (yes I know, weird, but it mostly WORKS, except for on really strong and negative personalities) and started praying the novena daily, paying close attention to the words and asking for clarity on what my true work was each day and for the discipline and focus to get it done.
As I write this post on of all days, Labor Day, I am filled with awe at the continuous mystery of the world and how my relationship with Saint Joseph, one of the most humble men in the bible, considering his enormous but unsung role in story of the salvation of mankind, has helped me understand how important it is to just do the work in front of me without fanfare, or vain complacency of success and without the need for the praise drug, something I see now I have been detoxing from as a newer business owner without a leader to say “atta girl” once in a while. Saint Joseph just did his job with ZERO praise and answered the call to try and do what was right in the best way he could. In doing so he helped change the world for the better. And while I do not pretend to even imagine that the labor I now try to do with renewed joy and gratitude each day, be it feeding the turtle every morning, making myself completely present for the people in my life, or making a big carpet sale is going to be as world altering as the work Joseph did, who the heck am I to step down from those actions because they might NOT be? And who am I to decide if they aren’t?
I decided, with the not so subtle nudging of Saint Joseph, to step back from the larger space, which has since been leased to someone else and focus on the work that’s in front of me, including writing this blog post, my personal labor of love. However, I did just discover that the two spaces next to our space at the Josef Center are now available, so who knows? I know that I WILL know, with a little help from Joe.
Happy Labor Day my beautiful lovelies. Know that every act of labor you do in your life, when done with joy, gratitude and patience changes the world for the better, so keep up the good work.