Things Great and Small

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun at my job. Ironically, it hasn’t been because I have an especially fun work environment, it has been because my work environment sometimes feels like the ER but with crises of a housing variety and I’m the one who coordinates all the staff, among other things.

No, the reason I’ve been having fun is because in those moments where I’m being contacted many different ways simultaneously and doing a thousand things in immediate succession, things that would not normally strike me as that big deal seem like the end of the world. So, instead of dealing with them immediately and/or being a jerk about these things to my coworkers (and dealing with the subsequent guilt of that) I decided to do something new.

Since I confess on this blog frequently about what an impatient person I am, I decided to wait. Instead of doing things in the heat of the moment I make a note and wait to do it until later once my emotions or frustrations have blown over. I take a break when I need to and do other basic things to take care of myself on the job (which is easy for some people but not always so easy for me).

And the funny part is how a lot of my “crises” take care of themselves. This little method has been shaking me out of my own perfectionism, which creeps up on me more than I care to admit. I do what I can with the tools I have and sort of go with the flow. Stepping away is helpful. While this all probably sounds rather obvious it’s not something that I see easily or frequently put into practice in the schools I attended or the places I’ve worked. With the speed and interconnectivity of everything it’s harder to get away, things are more easily blown out of proportion and most of all we live in a society that worships the act of doing.

It’s kind of a bold claim but I can point to many instances where prayer is majorly criticized by secular society because it is not seen as enough of an action. And I would go so far as to argue that it doesn’t matter what we do or how well it works in accomplishing our objective so long as it appears we are “doing” something. It’s the calm, the inaction that really offends because it shakes off that sense of urgency and importance and, as in my case, reveals that humbling and humorous truth that the world is a lot bigger than we are, and stretches far beyond the little problems and difficulties that we encounter in our day.

Even the larger scale problems that affect not one, but many, lose that sense of doom when I remember to have a perspective that stretches beyond myself and my limited abilities to include frequent prayer and trust in God to do even what feels impossible. To be glad that God is bigger than me and believe that He works everything out for good in its time.  Maybe the trick is just being willing to wait for it; to stay in tune with the graces He gives only in the present moment as we live it together.

This is what I think I like the most about prayer not that it changes God but that it changes me.

Advertisements

The Gypsy 

So today as I was doing my best to respond to my kind and inquisitive new dental hygienist she remarked, upon hearing bits of my life story, that I have a bit of a gypsy lifestyle.

By that, she meant I don’t live in the same place for very long and am not on a traditional career trajectory (where I’m holding x job in order to reach x goal in 5 years etc.)

It about made my day because, to be honest with you, my life has since become much more settled and routine the past year or so and I realized as she proceeded to grind my teeth to shimmering perfection that I had lost a good bit of courage in the past few months.

To backtrack, as I have recently been on a hiatus from blogging, I find out whether or not I can be considered as a candidate for something I really want to do in late January (pray for me please!) and I’ve been feeling the anxiety of the million reasons I could be rejected. I really have my heart set on it and so, being ever the optimist, I felt that as I’m now an adult on the wrong side of her 20s (I just turned 26) I should have a comfortable back-up plan to console myself with should I not be allowed to pursue said candidacy.

In the interim, as I’ve been sifting through a million different lives (because choosing a lifestyle is the essence of career planning) I’ve been really overwhelmed by all the uncertainty. There is nothing so exhausting as trying to secure your future happiness forever based on what you know in the tiny sliver of the present.

And I have been so busy that I didn’t even realize I had wandered so far down that primrose path. I slip so easily into living in the future that I did not catch myself in the act this time. Fortunately, my perfect stranger of a dental hygienist was there to do it for me.

While I’ve already admitted that my past from college to present does sound rather “gypsy” the adventurous, non-linear path was not the path I choose for myself. It was the path that God gave me through circumstances of life, job, and health. It was the path where I met God on the littler way and I would not trade it for anything. What the dental hygienist called gypsy, the Catholic Church calls pilgrim and that was the way of life I did not know I had been seriously missing until I ended up drooling on myself while facing a poster that read “Dental Diva.”

From living in the present moment with God I can attest that God does not always break through into your life via the painstakingly dramatic and obvious, sometimes He slips in through the ordinary people and events that make up your day. And I appreciated that He used my time as a captive audience to my unexpected but thoroughly appreciated benefit. Because it is so easy to forget the glorious truths I profess as a Christian and a Catholic. It is so easy to look back or look so far ahead of myself that I forget to look at God Who is always with me right now, whatever now happens to be.

And it is so comforting to think that the God of the universe is so humble that even in His majesty He descends to go with me to the dentist because it is so much easier to trust in the love of God when I remember how purely selfless it is. I always enjoy the act of remembering that truth because it gives me the courage to truly live.

 

Be Careful What You Wish For

One summer several years ago I had just finished my freshman year of college and was waiting to hear back from an internship I’d applied to. To make some money in the interim I did some housekeeping work for the Bed and Breakfast where my mom worked.

One afternoon I was in a particularly beautiful suite cleaning the bathroom where there was a tub so huge I actually had to get inside it in order to clean it. I confess I was having a moment of bitterness because while my friends were off having fun and going on vacation I was stuck working hard. Instead of being grateful I chose to be frustrated. As I was cleaning this ridiculously luxurious tub I complained to God something along the lines of, “I should live to see the day where I can afford to soak in a tub like this.” Preoccupied with my own thoughts and taking out my frustration on my scrubbing I bumped the water handle which somehow turned on the showerhead and covered my clothes with water. I quickly turned off the faucet but had to laugh because as it turned out I would get soaked in that tub a lot sooner than I had anticipated.

I am forever grateful for God’s sense of humor in that moment because the encounter shook me out of my head and returned me to the mystery and adventure of the present. It’s a reminder I always need because I am so prone to missing the present by thinking about the future and the plans that I have instead of accepting each moment with gratitude as it comes.

I know that essentially what it boils down to is the eternal struggle for surrender, the fight to let go of control of my life and let myself be led by God. It requires a trust and a patience that I do not have by nature but that I hope to have one day by grace. And in the interim, all I can hope is that I do a little better with it today than I did the day before, knowing that regardless of whether I succeed or fail I’ll be one day closer to heaven.