Be Kind, Serve, Do Office Work!

A Year of Being Kind blog –Thursday, March 27, 2014

 

church office picture

Be Kind, Serve, Do Office Work!

Orienting one’s self to a new job is often a challenge, even if everyone is pleased that a new person has started the job. That was (and is) my situation. Can anyone relate?

I am gradually getting used to the idea that I am, indeed, at a new church. And, that I am, in fact, a leader at this new church. I spent the morning finding out more about the church office, the secretary, how things work (like the printer and the copier—both very important!), and getting my laptop connected to the wifi. And, voila! I’m gradually getting more and more comfortable in this new position.

And, questions? Questions about the bulletin, about the scriptures for Sunday, about the church ad in the local paper. Are we going to advertise for Holy Week? Or just Easter? And, how much are the various ads that are available? Those are all good questions, and I asked the secretary to contact the advertising person at the paper and find out. We’ll gather a small, ad hoc church council meeting on Sunday and bounce the information and choices off of them.

So much to get used to! And yet, so much I know, sort of by osmosis. I suppose that’s from working at churches for the past thirty-some-odd years. I know my way around the basic church office, and know something about small office operations, too. I’ve been a lay leader and a church volunteer at several churches that were not particularly blessed with finances. So, I know how to scrimp and save. I am accustomed to being frugal, and shopping smart.

Sure, I’ve done office work before. But not from the aspect of being ringmaster. That’s the analogy I thought of. And, certainly, various people in the church are in charge of various ministries. True! But getting the big picture? Finding ways to help the ministries work together, for the common good of the congregation? Well, that’s my job, and my fellow co-pastor’s job, too. A ringmaster not only needs to coordinate what is happening when, but also needs to act as an encouragement to everyone on the team.

Thank God that this church is small, and laid-back, and not really nervous nellies about forgetting a part of the service. And, thank You, God, for putting me in this situation. With all these good people encouraging me and helping me be the best person I can be, I feel so loved, validated, and special. It is wonderful, God. Thanks again.

@chaplaineliza
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Serve with Enthusiasm Means Be Kind, Positively!

A Year of Being Kind blog –Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pooh, Eeyore and Christopher Robin - illustration by Ernest Shepard

Pooh, Eeyore and Christopher Robin – illustration by Ernest Shepard

Serve with Enthusiasm Means Be Kind, Positively!

Today was a whirlwind day. Running, running from one thing to the next. Don’t get me wrong—I enjoyed everything I did today! However, I also considered the verse I’ve chosen for March again. It comes from Ephesians 6:7. “Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women.”

I was at my new job for a while this morning, then at my old job this afternoon, and back to the new job for the evening Lenten service. My new church is full of life during the week, what with the preschool and small children in many classrooms throughout the north part of the church. I love children, and especially small, exuberant ones. Overwhelmingly, they have almost no inhibitions at all, entering into each experience as a new adventure, or a fascinating curiosity.

This exuberant enthusiasm of these dear children is something I find echoed in the verse I chose for March. (And I chose it for March at the beginning of January, I’ll have you know. Coincidence? Providence? You decide.) Truly, God is blessing people at my work. Not only the congregation, but also the preschool. I pray that it continues!

I also had a bittersweet good-bye today. I said farewell to someone I’ve gotten to know very well. I don’t mean, farewell for good. However, this dear person and I will not see each other very often, now that I have taken this new position. This dear one wished me the best! Imagine the appreciation and kind regard I have in my heart! And I wished the very best for that person, as well.

Question: how did I get in this particular place, anyhow? I still feel like pinching myself, because at the beginning of March, I had no idea that by the third Sunday, I would be leading worship in a new church. Today was the weekly bible study. Already, I am starting to feel the rhythms of this new place. Already, I can enjoy the children as I walk down the halls and say hello to students and staff alike.

It’s good to praise God with enthusiasm! Of course, the pessimistic viewpoint tries to inform me that it may rain tomorrow, and I may lose my keys, and someone might even shut the door on my tail. (Oh, no. Now I’m sounding like Eeyore. Oh, bother!) I much prefer the optimistic view, right now. Happy-go-lucky, one-day-at-a-time thinking. I suspect Winnie the Pooh would approve.

So, whether I am channeling Eeyore, Pooh, Piglet, Tigger or Owl, I hope I can always consider the excellent example of these dear preschool children. And be enthusiastic. Even if I’m not quite as exuberant as Tigger.

@chaplaineliza
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Being Kind While Assembling a Puzzle?

A Year of Being Kind blog –Tuesday, March 25, 2014

KIND another one kind word

Being Kind While Assembling a Puzzle?

There are lots of new things to learn when a person gets a new job. Even when a person knows how to do the component parts of the position, still. I compare it to putting the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle. Sure, I know most of these various parts of my new position, but I have just barely gotten started. I suppose I am still turning all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle over, and starting to put the border together. (to take the analogy a bit further, that is)

I’ve learned so much from so many different places! For example, I started learning visitation in earnest when I was a chaplain intern at a large retirement center. That was more than ten years ago, when I attended seminary.

I still remember the first resident I visited. The frail, elderly senior was in the health care unit. My chaplain supervisor encouraged me to visit this dear person, and gave me a little background on the senior’s physical and mental condition. The senior’s spine was chronically, increasingly bent and deformed. The mental condition was deteriorating, too, although simple language and communication still were effective. I spoke gently and cheerfully to this person, talking about my small children. My younger two were in primary grades at the time. I got very little feedback, but I knew this senior recognized I was there. I tried to be a gentle yet cheerful presence, yet I wondered afterwards how effective I could possibly have been. I remember talking about this visit with my supervisor afterwards, too. He encouraged me to continue—and continue I did.

This was where I started to learn about how to be present with people, in a gentle, caring way. I found I have a real ability in this area. Several chaplain and pastoral supervisors have told me about it, especially how I am able to be with people in a calm, less-anxious way. Not always, of course. But as I am with people, I discover this calm, gentle manner just sort of switches on. And happens.

So, I know how to be with people in serious, even traumatic situations, from my years of serving as a chaplain. I can see how this skill will be applicable to my new position, from time to time. Even more often sometimes. Like today—I was present with someone and encouraged them just by being there. I did not say too much. However, I heard them thank me, heard the appreciation in their voice. That’s satisfaction, to be sure. And I suspect my being with people, my gentle, caring presence is a large part of my job—of the puzzle that makes up my new position.

This living one-day-at-a-time business sure is interesting! I wonder what God will send me tomorrow?

@chaplaineliza
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