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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Being Kind, Showing Love

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, February 1, 2014

Elizabeth's birthday cake Kevin Jones - photo

Elizabeth’s birthday cake
Kevin Jones – photo

Being Kind, Showing Love

Today is my birthday. “Hap-py birth-day to me!” I wouldn’t mention this except for the fact that my oldest daughter saved my birthday cake yesterday. She lives in the same suburb that the rest of our family lives in. She offered to take me out for a birthday dinner yesterday evening. But before we went to the restaurant, she noticed that something was the matter when I picked her up in the car. She frowned. “What’s up?” I tried to dismiss it, thinking that she and I didn’t need to rehash frustrating and irritating stuff, but she pressed me.

I finally came clean. “I baked a cake for myself this afternoon, and tried a new filling. Raspberry filling. I followed the directions, reduced the frozen raspberries and water on the stove, added the sugar, raspberry extract, and lemon juice. I removed it from the heat and let it cool, then added the corn starch in water. But it won’t set up. It’s still raspberry soup!” I communicated how disgruntled I was. We laughed, and then she commiserated with me. She asked what I wanted to do—just forget about the cake and go out to eat, or go and try to fix the filling and go out to eat later. I dithered for all of ten seconds, and then we went to my house to try our best on the filling.

Suffice it to say that together, we got the filling to jell. (We put it back on the heat.) We cooled it, put the filling between the cake layers, and then my daughter iced the cake (with my chocolate buttercream icing. Yum!) After that, she and I went out to a good, moderately-priced Italian bistro and pizza place. We got salad, baked potato and ribs (my choice—again, yum!) And afterwards, we went home for cake. (Yum, for the third time!) The—jelled—raspberry filling was perfect. All in all, a satisfying evening.

Through giving me a hand with the cake and coming to the rescue of the raspberry soup, my wonderful daughter showed great love to me. She was kind to me, intentionally. (Just what I am trying to do, each day in 2014.) I was so grateful! I told her so, several times, and gave her a few hugs. We all had cake and conversation. A wonderful, family way to end the evening, too.

As I reflected on this frustrating and irritating situation, my daughter was able to so easily redeem the filling (and my disgruntled temper, too!). Yes, it was a small thing. The filling of a cake that I did not need (in terms of calories), but she and I together were able to salvage and successfully ice and finish. This reminded me of situations where I was unable to complete certain tasks on my own at work, or in a ministry at church. But when one or two willing friends or co-workers came alongside of me and helped, the job was a piece of cake! (pun intended <grin>) I suspect that is exactly the lesson God wanted me to learn. God, do I hear You laughing? Not at me, but with me, of course. I think You are.

@chaplaineliza