You say Goodbye… I say Hello

Almost three years ago, I walked into this office. Friday afternoon, I put the last paperclip, pen, and stapler into office relocation bins. I was a little teary, and it surprised me.

I scolded myself. “Really. This is no big deal.” And yet, it is.

The office movers arrive on Saturday, and on Monday morning, I’ll walk into a new building and new office suite. Everything will be different, from where we find coffee to what our building security access cards look like.

I’m mentally prepared for the chaos of an inter-office move. (I’m planning on chaos, anyway. It means that anything less than that will be encouraging.) I know I won’t have a desk or even a shared workstation to call my own and will be “homeless.” It’s a bit disconcerting. I am not looking forward to it. (Yes – there will be places I can sit down with my laptop… but it’s not the same.) My expectation is that it will take a lot of patience and adjusting to find this “new normal.”

I’ve thought a lot about our expectations in life, generally speaking. Sometimes they are motivating. Sometimes they are devastating to our morale. And sometimes, things go far better than we could dream! With my hospice patients and families, we often reflect on “the new normal” and the “chaos” of enrolling someone in hospice. It takes a while to get your sea legs again!

I’ve spent many hours helping people manage their expectations for their family member’s illnesses. Over and over, I will say, “we just don’t know how long…” And to the extent I can, I try to help folks find appreciation in the moments they have now on the road of loss and change…

Yep. A life lesson. Hits pretty close right now…

Wherever I travel next, I want to pack light and walk gently… and enjoy the gifts of today. And I’ll pay attention to the memories and feelings that they evoke.

Frederick Buechner said, “Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.”

Yes. Yes indeed. These teary moments have great meaning.

Prayer for a Sunday



Oh Lord,
It is far too easy to find things to do
that do not feed our souls.
We can shop and dine out, run errands and do laundry,
and these are tasks that do not revive us.

Yet there is work for a Sunday
that has been neglected far too long;
work that would be a unifying task
with family or church or friends.
Work that requires time to consider
“Do I need to keep this?”
“Is it time to let this go?”

So today,
I will engage in a task of holy reflection,
one where I think of my many blessings,
spiritual and material,
my wants and my needs,
and Your abundant Providence.
And I humbly repent
of all my excesses.

For today, after church,
we are cleaning out the garage.

May it be a holy work.
May it be a reflective work.
And may it be done quickly!


Energy – NaBloPoMo Post for day #2

A continuing exercise in blogging this month on the topic of “Energy” from the folks at NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and BlogHer. Today’s prompt:

Which daily tasks take the most of your energy?

I had to think about this a while. A lot of the tasks I have on a daily basis are here at home, and they are split between the necessary ones (like those of hygienic kitchen and bathroom) and the “nice” ones (like an uncluttered house.) But both kinds of tasks can get me cranky if I feel overwhelmed with other responsibilities. When I get grumpy, these tasks also sap my enthusiasm for cooperation and consistency. That’s not a good way to live.

The tasks that get to me the most are the routine ones that I wish some magical Housekeeping Fairy would take over. Things like cleaning up the kitchen after a meal (as in finishing that task – including the pans, pots, knives, countertops, stove, etc.) There’s also the never-ending pick-up, clean-up, de-clutter tasks. Especially when there’s a lot going on (for my work hours outside the home), things can get to a cluttered stasis pretty quickly. Usually it’s solved by “just” putting things away the first time. (“Just”… I’m laughing.) I would add that this is a shared problem and I contribute to it. It’s in my gene pool!

Why do simple things sap my energy? Because I give them too much importance in how I feel about my life, or myself. Or I take on a sense of martyrdom that it will “never” happen if I don’t do it. There’s really very few things that fall into that category. Most of the time, I’m taking life WAY too seriously!

To be sure, part of parenting is teaching our kids how to be participating members of the household. This includes chores. From the time they were old enough to follow simple instructions, they were expected to help. It wasn’t a big deal. Do the chores, and then they could get back to playing. Or reading. Or whatever they were doing when I conscripted their help. 🙂

To keep it simple, I have borrowed heavily from FlyLady for chore lists and “baby steps”. Her mantra, “you can do anything for fifteen minutes” has helped keep the martyr complex to a minimum, the tasks organized, on point and easy! When I’m not feeling dragged down by the daily chores, I can “fly” through a morning routine and move on with my life in less than half an hour a day. Yes. Really.

Growing up, my parents expected us to participate in the household chores. We didn’t get “paid” for it as some of my friends did. Instead, my parents pointed out that we were “paid” by having free room and board, and it was a part of living in the same household that chores got done. After all, when we moved on to roommates and apartments, rarely did anyone “pay” me to help clean the living room or wash dishes. It was just something we all did. Together.

The bottom line in all of this? I don’t live for the attention of others. I do these things for God. I really don’t know anyone who gets positive reinforcement for a shiny sink or de-cluttered house. I think it is an attitude of joy and appreciation for all of the good things in this life.

Paul said in Colossians, “Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people.”

No kidding. That’s the only way.