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.

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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.

 

The Journal

So today I found myself wishing that I could somehow track down my fourth-grade teacher and tell her thank you. I’m sure she did a lot of good work with me that year. However, she did something else that I will never forget: she gave me my first ever journal. I got it as a last day of school present. It was red with a teddy bear holding balloons on the cover. A gesture that to her I’m sure seemed insignificant. But those little gestures matter so much more than we know.

I had been reading a ton of those “Dear America” history journals that are tailored to that age group and I was just tickled by the thought of having my own. And even though that journal didn’t have very many entries in it, I have not stopped journaling since. That’s right, while I am by no means a nightly journaler and have taken some breaks from it, it is a practice I have never given up (and have no plans to give up anytime soon!)

It’s just so cool to me because she had no idea what a significant part of my life writing would become. If you go back in the journals you can see how my writing style evolved, the different techniques that developed and the influences of whoever I happened to be reading at the time. It helped me find my voice and taught me to express myself in a way that many other adults struggle to do.

And I am so grateful for her gift of the journal that I wish I could thank her, the same way I thank God for the gift of being able to write in the first place.

And the way I thank you, for taking the time to read what I have written.