Saturday, October 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday, Not Quick At All* Edition

*also, I realize it is not at all Friday.

1) Well work has been outrageously stressful lately. Not stressful like people who have actual stress have, like, I don't know... emergency room surgeons or EMTs or... I can't think of non-medical examples right now, but you know what I mean. But it has been stressful, in that we have been preparing for our first "real" GOF sessions, the first of which was last night and then will be again tomorrow. They're "real" this time because last month, we had a guest performer who did a one-man show for everyone, meaning we didn't have to break out into groups, or have teachers in place, or any of that hard stuff. Last night went pretty well, considering the MANY loose/moving parts to putting on a night like this.

2) This year (and hopefully not for long), I've stepped into the DRE position, a job for which I am, let me just say, the wrong tool. I don't know nothin' about teachin' no children- my expertise starts at about grade 6. In fact now that I'm thinking of it, the one year I worked with 2nd graders (at a Catholic Charities afterschool daycare) was one of the worst in memory... and it was for the same reason- I had no business leading/teaching little ones. Funnily, I've had so many conversations this past year with people who were miserable about being in the wrong job- and I've told them all what I believe to be true: that God gifts us specifically, and when we are not using those gifts, nobody wins- not God, not the people around us, not us. Now here I am in the wrong spot myself, knowing the job should be done better than I can do, and knowing I could be doing good work in another (aka my former) position. ANYhoo, the hope (prayer) is that someone will step up, take on this part of the job, and let me go back/forward to being an adult faith formation person/pastoral associate at my current parish. In the meantime, everyone suffers. Ha! Just kidding, I think it's mostly me (and Scott, poor Scott).

3) While we're on this topic, let me urge you... when you leave your job, don't just walk away. Even if you hate it or are SO DONE with it or don't care who comes in after you, leave something helpful behind- a calendar, lists of people, information on what you did. Maybe the new person won't need to use what you leave, but it will help, and it will help you feel like you did something professionally courteous. Leave well, that's what I urge you. I'm still digging out from under my predecessor, and it's making me think angry thoughts toward my former colleague! When I've left jobs in ministry before, I've always cleaned out computer files and old stuff, and left a "successor file" for whoever came in after me. Contacts, info, lists, directions, outlines, suggestions. In my last job, the jamoke that took over for me promptly stashed that binder in a back closet with nary a look (I'm told), but a few years later I spoke to his replacement, who thanked me sincerely for the files. Just, kids, seriously- leave well.

4) On a completely unrelated topic, we have been having this yellow jacket invasion at our house. They built a nest (hive?) behind the light over our door, which would be bad enough, but if you remember our indoor squirrel issue from a few years back, you know that the space between our inner and outer walls are basically empty- so we've been killing about 20-25 big-ass yellow jackets in our kitchen every day for a few weeks. Yellow jackets are not bees- they are some kind of nasty, vindictive creatures that, when killed, emit a Shark/Jet-like pheromone that summons its friends to come and co-attack whoever killed it. Nice! Well, finally the pest guy came today, telling us he has chemicals that you need  LICENSE to use, and that he would spray, then powder the nest, then seal it up. "But," I asked, "If they can't get out, won't they just come IN?" He admitted that this was likely and that we should stand by. We watched him work through a porch window at a safe distance, and have since killed about 8-10 half-dead and super resentful YJ's in the kitchen. The pest guy (I like to call him "that pesticidal maniac") was calling me "deah" by the end of the visit and gave me his personal phone number, in case we need to call him back in. I'm not sure if that was a compliment or a hint that things were about to get much, much worse. Either way, I have it in a safe place.

5) I've been doing LEX again at work, in the afternoons with seniors (I like to call it "little old lady lex" but really, these gals are impressive scholars, and blow my mind with their insights every week), and young adult/adult (21+) "alcoholic lex" in the evenings, with wine and snacks. It's turned into this awesome thing, reminiscent of my old beloved "Banana Bread and God" group with kids. Now the participants know how to look for insight in the scriptures, and they dig really deep with each other- AND they bring delicious snacks, which is a lovely development! Only two weeks to go on this series, and then a break until Advent. Now THIS is the job I was meant to do. I'm so glad I can still do it. This week one of my afternoon ladies said "I'm really starting to like the Gospel of Luke!" How cool is that?

6) Here's how cool: this Sunday's Gospel is about the dishonest judge and the persistent widow. At non-alcoholic Lex we puzzled over the judge- were we supposed to be learning that God is like a dishonest judge, or that if we just harass God long enough he'll get annoyed enough to grant our prayers? Didn't seem right. One of my afternoon ladies, though, pointed us toward the widow, who is almost barely mentioned in the story. But in Luke, widows are used as an example of a powerless person- someone with no authority, no ability to get things done. This widow, though, DOES have a power- ONE power: persistence. We concluded that maybe the message for us in this gospel is that we have ONE power- prayer- and that all Jesus wants us to do with this story is to remember to hang in there, prayer-wise. I love that!

7) Go Red Sox! All through this series, every time I've tuned in to the games, the sox have started to flounder, and when I leave the room or change the channel, they do better. So, basically, the fate of the World Series is on my shoulders. It's a lot of pressure, but I'm holding up okay. Let me know how tonight's game goes!

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