Friday, February 17, 2006

Stay true to your soul

Okay, let's face it. I have a sign outside my door that says Church Secretary. I have a phone extension, too, for those seeking out the church secretary. I sit behind a huge desk that houses lots of manilla file folders, notebooks,and a black phone with lots of buttons on it; and I even have my own stapler. I have a day -at -a -glance calendar on my desk, too. Those are the clues that a professional works here. Then, there are the other clues. The clues to truth. The clues that say who REALLY resides in this space.

The sign outside my door that reads Church Secretary has in italics underneath it in a lovely slanted font, " visitors are always welcome". What busy Admin church secretary in her right mind would invite more chaos into her realm? uh, that would be me.

My phone, clearly a tool for business conversations and transactions, has stickers on it where the extension numbers used to be. My boss has a treasure chest sticker because he is a gift .

Another friend/worker has a kitty sticker because she loves them and her heart is as soft as a new kitten.

My boss boss business admin boss has a big car on his extension button because he drives a big car and he walks fast and his inner motor runs fast like a big car.

The receptionist extension has the three mice who helped Cinderella repair her dress because the receptionists are the best friendly supports one could ever have in this place.

The friend who works down the hall who is gifting me with her kind and funny spirit and who shares her family with me has Cinderella's two best friends on it, the ones who said, " hubbada, hubbada, happy birthday!" in Cinderella, because she is a birthday present every time I talk with her.

The other pastor has a blue bird on her phone button because she is always in flight, but driven like a blue bird is, and she is beautiful and bright,

and the other friend who works down the hall has a flower on hers, because she is in full bloom and brightens the church on even the dampest day. Those are things on my phone on my desk that looks like a real desk of a real admin asst but now you are learning the truth. More clues:::

Manilla file folders.... Real Admin assistants have folders that say things like Admin board, presidential notes.... Mine say FRONT DESK IMPORTANT WORK, or THE THINGS IN HERE GO OTHER PLACES, or STAFF STUFF, and AVON. ( my avon folder is my own clue for where I keep the info on people who ring our doorbell for assistance even though we don't have a doorbell, it feels like it when people walk in for help, so I call it AVON.)

Desk equipment. .. I have a stapler that has "DON'T EVEN"written on it and even though I thought that might be a little rude when i first labeled it that way, I must say that in the one year I have now been playing office, of the 4 staplers i have purchased for replacements, not one has been mine, because no one has dared to take mine because it says, "don't even" and somehow,those words cross language and culture pretty well. My three hole punch also has a label that says, "I live on the church chick's desktop. Please take me home if I wander. Thanks, ACCO model 20." I'm thinking people may wonder if my desk top tools are alive, and maybe that is a little scary? Could they be hostile? i think not, but then, that's just me.

On my shelves are two very important notebooks. " Personnel handbook, no doubt" you may say. or " The Book of Discipline", umm. nope.
Well, not exactly. I have a notebook labeled, Melanie's How to do the job book DIRECTIONARY, VOL 1, and, MELANIE'S DIRECTIONARY, vol 2. These notebooks guide me through my days.

When I review these eccentricities, I realize that my true nature is firmly planted right out there in clear view. Knowing this, I can enjoy the moments when I have felt like I've been able to get away with that knowledge and still perform the job in a sort of satisfactory way. My most favorite part of the job is telling the Pastor that his next appointment is here. I just love that.

He thinks it odd, or at least he used to, but he being such an accepting soul has now accepted that and he tries to let me announce even if he's standing within reach of said appointment. He's good that way. Supportive.

Only once in all this time have I lept over my desk to get to his appointment in time to announce. Only once, I'd say that's pretty good. The two men were standing in the hall, one coming from outside to see the Pastor, and one heading to his office to wait for the appointment.

I heard the footsteps and knew right away that an intersection was in the process, so I ran out into the hall and threw out my arms to create a block between the two men. I asked the one, " ARe you here to see the Pastor?" He stood before me, bewildered, since he could look just over my shoulder and see the Pastor as clear as day. " uh, yeaah." Then he pointed as if I maybe didn't know who was standing right behind me trying to get around my dodging and dashing fancy footwork.

A quick jump around and I faced my boss. " Your appointment is here to see you now." A demo of his true acceptance of my good intentions, he reacted with calm and grace. " Okay. Thank you." and then it was all over. It was several days before the opportunity came within my grasp again. part of the problem is that his office is the first one you come to as you round the corner, then mine. I'd think about changing out with him, but then, where would the birds go? My bird friends are settled in and I would not want to make them relocate......

Anyway, today I had another slap in the face reality check. I was having an awkward time figuring out how to manage a small something at work- nothing big, I love most aspects of my job, but I was in a quandry because I was feeling uncomfortable and I didn't really know how to voice it. I appealed to my closest Church Chick buddy, who was on the move without missing a beat. She pulled out a dictionary she keeps on an elastic cord right at her fingertips, and found the words that I could use to help explain how I was feeling. Marginalizing. The situation was marginalizing to me. WWOOOWW. I left her office, came back to mine and my boss was in.

I shared my thoughts and he was so understanding and supportive. He said ..."that makes you feel...", and I jumped in with ,"marginated!!" He took my misspoken term without any hint that it was not quite right. He understood what I meant. I didn't realize the faux paux. I felt so relieved to talk with him, I was just so grateful for his demeanor and support of my quandry.

I immediately emailed my mentor and shared the experience. She laughed so hard that her tears shorted out her phone and I had to call her back. We later decided that it didn't matter, and that sometimes, marginated does the job anyway better than butter. and for those who have "met their meat" butter isn't an option anymore.

But it made me remember who I am in this job, and that is just a simple minded soul who wears a church chick toupee.

oh good grief.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your writing. Enjoying your stories!

the reverend mommy said...

When can you come work for me??

Bad Alice said...

I absolutely need a folder that says THE STUFF IN HERE GOES OTHER PLACES. It would be rather large, though, because the stuff that belongs other places would never reach its destination, and soon it would get comfortable in its temporary lodging.

Tina said...

That folder that says THE STUFF IN HERE GOES OTHER PLACES... can it hold books and bowls and barrettes and bottles? Those are the things I have trouble getting into their proper places!

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