Saturday, April 15, 2006

He has risen

Tomorrow is Easter- the He Has Risen day that most Christians look forward to each year. The doom and gloom fades away in the wee hours of Easter eve, and the dawn brings the light of new beginnings, new faith, new energy for life and love.

Here at work church, the staff has been buzzing around like bees on ephedra for the last 6 weeks. Lots of planning, creating, scheduling, calling, praying, writing, and sermonizing. Lots. I am busy along with them, but in a very different way. Where the ministerial staff is zipping along, putting together the event activities of the season, I sit comfortably at my desk on the phone, or emailing, snail mailing, copying. My most important job is keeping the nut jar full. Desk sustenance I call it on the store receipts these days. No one questions it anymore. We all know how important it is to keep the staff fueled. Especially now.

As the season peaks with the rising Easter Sun, I can feel the last drops of energy and fuel dripping out. The worship experiences prove amazing, fulfilling, wonderous. But on a human level, on the day that He has risen, my beloved staff is falling- over, out, like a forest of cut timbers. I, for one, am grateful for Easter Monday- for their sakes. Thank God for God and Thank God for the gifts of these incredible people I work for. Now there's a miracle for you- well, there's a few. ..

Friday, April 14, 2006

Forgive me for I have sinned

On this quiet good Friday that isn’t really too good (when you place it in the context of the New RSV), my oldest daughter dropped by on her way to work. She had in her hand 3 colorful tickets. They were Lot=ery tickets. Not Lot like in the Bible, but Lottery as in badness, gambling, addiction, compulsion. Yes. Sinful paper products. Three of them. We looked them over in awe. Wow.

We looked at the fronts. They were covered with pop up print, not unlike the pop ups that appear on my computer. Bright, Bold, obnoxious, drunk type. Wow. Not even 9 am yet and here we were in the a beloved house of God, holding these noxious notecards. In the gambling world, they are called tickets. Sounds benign. Tickets for the movies, tickets for the playground train, tickets to the opera, tickets to the city of doom. Lottery tickets. Wow.

The back of each was covered in ant-print. Font size -2. With the help of a magnifying glass we could make out “Play responsibly” (as if that will make a difference. They may as well have said, “Be nice.” Either you will or you won’t but print doesn’t make the difference. )Also, “ If you or anyone you know has a gambling addiction, please call 1/877…” Hey, that’s good to know. Who are they talking about? Gambling addiction? Me? Us?Just because we bought 3 tickets? Maybe I should buy 3 more or 30 more to see if the same thing is on every ticket. Hmmm.

We held those tickets for a while and realized there were no directions. How silly is that? Can you purchase without being certified to play? Is it like driving? We should be licensed? We asked passers by, the cleaning crew- they wanted to see, too. But no one really had the guts to tell us how to play. Didn’t want to contribute to our addictive potential, I guess. So we went to the website and discovered the complicated process of scratching off the pop up words. The tension was building.

A few seconds later, we proclaimed ourselves Winners!!! $3.00 and two free tickets!! Woo Hoo!! The $3.00 investment paid off, clearly. You’ll probably read about us in the paper, but they’ll keep our names confidential at first to ward off scam artists who are interested in our money. So, keep your eyes open for the headline about the mother/daughter winning team. ..

After the excitement wore off, the guilt set in and we went hand in hand into the Pastor’s office to confess our sins. He forgave us, reminded us that God forgave us too, and then he wanted to see the tickets. There’s nothing more refreshing than working with a Pastor who is sprinkled with humanity. Now there’s a winning ticket.

Church Chick

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sending off friends

Funny the different kinds of friendships that are formed from the desk of the church secretary. Such a variety of relationships grow and flourish on many different levels, all have distinct places in my heart.

There are people I know only by their email addresses, and others who I can identify through voice recognition alone. Some are familiar faces that routinely pass by my office with a quick glance.... again and again and again. Particular people pop in to grab a piece of bubblegum, or maybe they are called to the stress eze nut mix or the anti-oxident mixage and on occassion the password protected mixage. People can be identified by their footsteps, or their walking pace, as well. Many folks I only know by heart, not name.

My Pastor boss can easily be identified by the jingle of his door when he throws it open to search me out. I think his mind explodes with sparkling spontaneous thoughts, when he cloisters himself behind that pastor parlor door- wild thoughts that send him flying across the hall sputtering tasks or questions my way. He is a very energetic and creative sort, this man. He leaves a trail of gossamer behind him when he passes through any place. It's a very good thing.

We have an ongoing chuckle between us that I can sit behind my desk for hours, days, months, without ever being called to his attention, but invariably, the moment my toes cross the threshold of my office, he will simultaneously be in great need of my office skills and will call my name with intention- "Church Chick!!" Once, i heard his cry while I was visiting the second floor restroom. I am in tune with his tone now that I've worked with him for a while. We've tested the pattern before and it runs true. I may be in the kitchen, the copy room, the mail room, my other boss's office, or hanging outside my office window in search of respite, and bingo- I am the name of the hour. It's an honor to be needed, of course. In truth, it is just what it is- another serendipitious pleasant aspect of my job. oh- I'm weaving off the track a bit.... .....

We have a lovely group of warm bodies who have been on this earth a long time, and for this reason- among others- we call them grand. This group meets weekly to share the joy of long-lived friendships and good food. They take turns cooking, and they often times have a speaker. Last week, a group of fancy dancers came and kicked around a while. Once a year, they participate in a bells lesson and the building is filled with notes and rhythm.

I've grown accustomed to their grand patter and wheeling around. On occassion, they will take field trips. I was surprised to find that I felt a great sense of empty-nestness when they took a springtime trip recently. The building grieved the missing presence of my favorite tinkerbell friends.

I love those folks. They are the world in one room. They have lived many lives in many places. One woman wears unique necklaces, she brought me her collection for show and tell one day. kalediscopes, one inch in size, and in perfect working order. How magic is that?

Several of these special friends also volunteer at the front desk, and so they have become work peers. Many are very involved in committee work or other missions within the church - but they are all gifts. Every one of them, and I miss them when they are gone.

I find myself shifting into parent mode when they travel. I boarded the bus last trip and reminded them to behave. How silly is that? Well, if you knew this crew, you'd say 'not silly at all.' I spoke to the bus driver and told him to drive with all the care he carried in his soul and to bring them back in all their many pieces and parts. I must have used my "mom" voice, because he answered with a solemn 'Yes, Ma'am". Maybe I'll add mom to my list of titles in this job. or maybe not.

Today is a field trip day. sighhhhh. I passed out mints to ensure a more enjoyable venue for conversation in close quarters between friends on the bus. I told them to "NOT distract the driver, either." and to come back safely, " I mean it now, SAFE-LEE".

I trust that they will return with many a story to tell at next week's luncheon, but today, the halls will wilt with emptiness.