This I Believe

Kevin - Tinley Park, Illinois
Entered on May 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I fully believe: Work and pray, you will have a prosperous day! I found this out while having a simple talk with my grandfather.

This past January, my family took a trip to my grandparent’s house in Northern Wisconsin. It was a long eight-hour trip to get up there. We arrived at their snow-covered house late at night. We were welcomed with warm hugs and the traditional Polish greetings. As usual, we entered through the kitchen with our luggage. Out of the corner of my eye, something that was posted on the refrigerator door caught my attention. It was a little phrase written on a piece of notebook paper: “Work and pray, you will have a prosperous day!” At that moment, I did not think anything of it. I was too busy unloading the van and taking luggage through the kitchen because it was bitterly cold outside.

After I woke up the next day, I sat on the couch in the family room and turned on the morning news. As usual, my Grandfather was up early in the morning having breakfast and coffee. When he was finished he came over to the room that I was sitting in. “What is the matter with these people,” my Grandfather said. He was referring to the news about the war in Iraq. He then started talking to me as he usually did about people in the world causing problems because they were too lazy to work. He said, “If you don’t work, you can do nothing but cause problems. When I was young boy, I worked very hard on farm…” All throughout his life, my Grandfather worked very hard. He was born on a farm in Poland in 1922 and was the youngest of nine kids and had a hard life due to the fact that his father died when he was only twelve. He was responsible for taking care of the animals on the farm and gardening. During World War II, he was taken as a prisoner and put into forced labor on a German farm. After the liberation, he joined the American Polish Army and served for five years. After his service he received free transportation to the United States. He arrived in the U.S. in 1949 with my grandmother, 2 dollars in his pocket, and the clothes on his back. He got a job in a factory working long hard hours to support my grandmother and six children. Then, he started his own business drilling wells.

After he has talking about the work throughout his life, he began talking about God. “I pray every day,” he said. “Everything we have we can thank God for.” My grandfather was brought up in a devout Catholic family. He went to church every Sunday and prayed every night. To most people, this life would seem very disciplined with little reward. To him however, every day was prosperous because his work was allowing him to raise a happy family and his prayers were being answered.

The little phrase that was posted on my Grandparent’s refrigerator was starting to make sense to me. My grandfather lives his life by work and prayer, and he has become prosperous from it. I see the success in this belief in many different ways. It worked when he kept the farm running after his father died. It worked when he survived forced labor from the Nazis and was freed. It worked when he came to this country in 1949. Now he owns a couple of houses, few acres of land, and most importantly, a healthy and loving family.

My Grandfather continues at the age of eighty-seven working around the house on projects as well as praying. His work and prayers give him mental and physical strength to keep on living. Every day that I am with my Grandfather, I work and pray with him. We usually chop some wood in the afternoon, or drill a well like we did last summer! Then later on, we pray and have dinner. Finally at night, we take the wood, have a beer, and make a nice fire in the backyard under the stars. Now that is what I call prosperity!