Sunday, March 12, 2017

Fall, Winter and Finally Spring

It seems like I start the majority of these saying, “wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve written.”  Maybe I should just resign to the fact that I’m only writing twice a year and a many are probably thinking that is quite sufficient.  But folks, if I write less than that it will be awkward, like Christmas cards where people try to think of the most epic thing that happened ALL year and come up with…well you know…like what they ate at one restaurant they went to.  Pretending that these are semi-regular updates takes off a lot of pressure.

Through the fall I was able to keep up my “work-from-home Fridays” schedule, and that allowed me to continue settling into my home, go to brunch a lot and even fit in a few trips.  In October I hit up NY, NJ and PA for what I classified as a “long weekend,” in November I spent a week in LA for my cousin’s wedding and other visits and December I went down to San Diego/Mexico.   I really like visiting people so if you’re someone I stayed with for free and without even bringing a hostess gift (my sister is so much better at that than I am), thanks, it was great, and cheap!

Other than visiting people, I also had the opportunity to go over the border and visit Door of Faith orphanage in Baja (  I had been once in college overnight with a roommate, but this time I got to go with a group to pass out Christmas stockings (that we helped purchase) to the 125 kids there. I’m sure it’s changed since I was in college, but really I think this time I just was impressed by different things.  It’s an awesome place with such a strong emphasis on creating a stable/family-like environment.  I mean so many times they said stuff like, “in a family, you learn how to cook, so here they learn how to cook,” or “in a family you don’t get cut off when you’re 18 so here we’re involved for life.” My 5-year old niece Stella summed it up nicely when she said, “I thought it was going to be sad, but it wasn’t…and they have their own dogs.”

Unrelated, during one of those trips my boss decided we should hire a temp to help me out.  This is funny right? because I was getting all my work done in less than 30 hours.  But really it was going to be someone who would sit in the trailer at the refinery so I wouldn’t have to walk through the mud and avoid the port-a-potty.  After exactly one recommendation and a very strange interview we hired someone with 0 computer skills to do a job that is 100% computer based. It was a very stressful two months, but then I got to fire her and got a lot of flack (and 3 months later it keeps trickling in).  But I have this boss who thinks I can do no wrong and he said if anyone has a problem working with me that’s their problem.  This is the same boss who wrote on my annual review that there is not one thing he could think of to tell me to improve on.  He’s like the overly supportive parent I never had. 

Anyways, now I don’t have anyone helping me and in January/February we had this huge project and my 30 hours doubled to 60 hours.  How do people do it? This whole working thing?  I mean look at this picture of my fridge (don’t be fooled that peanut butter is empty):

Fortunately it’s dying down and my boss said I can go back to my afternoons of meditation and iced tea soon.

So working more also means I’m around my coworkers more.  When they used to ask me, “Joy, how can you handle working here?” and I would say, “four days a week, that’s how I can handle it.”  Moving to 6 days has really pressed me.  I thought it would help if I carved out a little more personal space in the trailer.  Maybe I could work better if I didn’t shuffle papers so much and heard a little less lunch-time chatter (a few weeks ago a real sentence began with “Well, the last time I got out of San Quentin…” )  The project manger was going to get right on moving another desk into the portion of the trailer that isn’t really used.  He seemed real gung-ho but then the enthusiasm died down so I followed up with him and he said there was mold.  That’s what bleach is for, right?  But then I saw it. 

We’re supposed to be getting a new trailer now (2 months after we discovered the mold).  I am way more excited about that prospect than I ever thought I would be.  I mean it’s still going to be in a refinery and have no plumbing.

But work is good, right?  It teaches me a lot about human nature.  I want to believe if I do kind things to my coworkers they will in turn do their jobs better; turn things in on-time, respond to emails, follow through, have manners, etc.  Similarly, I think if I’m the fun aunt and let my nieces and nephews sleep over and buy them ice cream we’ll have a nice pleasant time and they’ll sleep in past 5:45.  This is not how life works. And of course it doesn’t, I shouldn’t be surprised…I mean look at my life.  God gives me so many good things, all good things, yet my behavior doesn’t change.  What do I learn from this?  He continues being good to me, but He isn’t doing these good things to manipulate or coerce me into doing what He wants.  He just really, really loves me and wants me to be who He created me to be.  So also, as I serve, or give, or act Christ-like I can’t be motivated by the response of others.  I have to be motivated by love for Him and His love for me and continue with that motivation even when things aren’t going my way.   

So this was my big work-lesson the last few months.  But now I’m onto a new one:
Just last week God gave me 2 Timothy 2:4 “No one serving as a solider gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter.”  So when my coworkers are talking about trips to San Quentin, or how drunk they got the night before or $1,000 tennis shoes and all these stories you would not even believe, I don’t need to concern myself.  That’s none of my business; my job is verse 8, to “keep my attention on Jesus.”  And somehow with my attention on Him he’ll show me how to respond when real life issues are coming up and I’m surrounded with people with zero capability of dealing with them.

So that was a lot about work but here’s a little reflection I wrote but don’t know how to transition into it, think if this was in newsletter format this would be a side-bar:

Sometimes I fail at adulting: like forgetting to pay rent, and, well you saw that picture of my fridge, and then I realize my hair isn't even clean enough to go to work in a refinery. I mean sure, I have bright moments too, like Joypardy 2.0. 

But where is the balance?  And a friend reminded me recently that were not adulting, it's not a game. We're actually adults. Who have to keep doing grown-up things, because we grew-up. But it's also nice when you're sick and your dad stops by to pick up your laundry for your mom to do.  Or when you’re sick again and just give up completely and stay at your parents so you don’t have face the empty fridge and they offer you bottomless cups of tea.

I have all these other stories to tell about what I eat when I have more than capers in the fridge and there was a whole fiasco with rain entering my house and my landlords building me a porch cover.  Or maybe you really wanted to know that I bought a cozy little heater that looks like a fireplace and my sister got me a Woodwick candle that crackles so I can pretend the fire is real.  And I’ve been doing BSF this year, studying the gospel of John, and it’s really great but a few weeks ago I ditched and went to dinner with my sister and that was really great too.   And suddenly in the midst of all my crazy February work I had three perfect weekends; I went to Santa Cruz with church and Texas for “work” and hosted my college roommates.  And those trips were only possible because one night when I was driving home God told me how to make a spreadsheet that I could use to delegate responsibility.  And then this weekend it’s SPRING weather and it’s not raining and I am a new person.  But this is already very long so I’ll fill you in in person next time, or you can share your stories with me.  I’ve decided in spite of the fact that people don’t always conform to my ideals I still really like being w

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