Sometimes I feel like the juggler at the circus who also doubles as the lion tamer and the trapeze artist. This has been one of those weeks where commitments and a myriad of issues, details and obligations with work related professional organizations has vied for my attention and time. I awakened very early Saturday morning with the thought: “I survived the week. What about the next one?” Thinking about the things in front of me, I wasn’t sure.
It is a simple fact, “I don’t always have control over my calendar”. The General would question whether my participation in a lot of the activities that fall my way is really necessary. In fact she is pretty adamant that it is not. Her solution to a full calendar is: “Just say no.”
Did I mention that it would be challenging for me to work for her? Trust me, there would be interesting conversation if she was my boss. She would also probably keep me on a perpetual corrective action plan. She is a black and white thinker and there is absolutely no margin for coloring outside the lines. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that. Why do your think I respectfully and lovingly refer to her as the General? However, in contrast, I take a more pragmatic approach in supervising and managing employees. When your dealing with shades of gray extra effort is involved in sorting out the details and orchestrating an authoritative environment.
One of the things I love about my job is that I never really know what I’m going to be dealing with in the course of a day. Sometimes it is the unexpected that offers the adrenaline rush and opportunity to have to think on my feet. So far, I’m still standing, so I guess I’m managing okay.
In the early morning hours yesterday, I thought about the week that begins today. For starters I needed a sermon for this morning. A couple of ideas have been circulating in my head over the past two or three days, but I needed more focus and an opportunity to use the ink in the pen to flesh out my thoughts. I am also scheduled to attend a meeting at a children’s home near Houston tomorrow. Tuesday is filled with an advocacy day meeting sponsored by the Christian Life Commission related to legislation. Wednesday finds me back in Houston. Maybe the General is right. Maybe I should manage my calendar differently.
At any rate, I had not been at my computer long yesterday morning when I received notification that a dear friend had passed away. Her death wasn’t unexpected. Because of frail health in recent months, she has spoken of and looked forward to that journey for a long while. Despite the joy in knowing that she is now free from pain and enjoying her heavenly homecoming, her passing is also associated to a lot of sadness for those of us left behind.
So getting back to the juggling act, where do you fit a funeral into the schedule I just laid out? Wow! This was going to be tough, but necessary. Truthfully there is no higher honor for me than being asked to officiate at a funeral. Whatever had to be juggled would be juggled in order to give priority to the privilege of bidding farewell to a long-term friend. She was like a family member who treated me like I was one of her own kids. In fact, I’m not sure that I’m not. Relationally the love relationship was intact.
The one thing that couldn’t be moved from my calendar was a speaking commitment I already had in place for the advocacy day meeting. I was on the program right after lunch. I had to be there for that. In visiting with the family, I suggested that if Tuesday worked best for them, it had to be a morning service that began no later than 10:00 a.m.
I’ve said of myself often that I work best under pressure. I hope that’s true. Consequently, apart from going over to visit with the family whose mother died, I didn’t leave the house all day yesterday. To say, that I was multi-tasking is an understatement. Unfortunately, I don’t always do well with that kind of juggling act. I like completing one task before I begin another, but obviously things don’t always work that way.
Simultaneously I worked on a funeral message, an advocacy day presentation and this morning’s sermon. I had three open files and as thoughts filtered through my head, I’d find the correct document and jot down the thought.
I guess you could say that I am my own worst enemy, because maintaining the momentum without crossing the hardwiring in my head was a challenge. Consequently, I periodically took a break to do something that didn’t require finding the right words and chronicling them on my computer.
Like I said, I am my own worst enemy. In the midst of the mental juggling act in which I was engaged, I had the thought: “What could be more relaxing and energizing for me than moving furniture around in our house?” Am I crazy or what? Of course, it has only been several weeks since I last did that. Actually, if I recall correctly, the General was out of town at the time.
She’s been out of town this weekend as well. She is in Cat Spring keeping the grandkids while Craig and Becky are in Southern California. Actually, they also took Jake with them. He is spending the weekend with a best friend that he left behind when they moved from Camp Lejeune. The eight-year-old best friend now lives in California. Jenna and William had sport related obligations in the greater Cat Spring area, so they couldn’t make the quick weekend trip to California. In addition to providing some level of supervision, the General also gets to be chauffeur for the kids. Since she’s away, the furniture gets moved and I don’t have to ask what she thinks. Sweet deal right? Maybe is my answer.
Most people don’t want advice unless they choose to ask for it. Forgive me if I’m overstepping boundaries, but let me provide a word to the wise: “Don’t try to lift and move a king size Tempurpedic mattress by yourself”. To suggest that it got the better part of me is only the beginning. Before I finished the process, I thought the mattress would likely still be in the floor when the General gets home tomorrow.
In the unlikely event that the General reads my blog today, I won’t say more. Consequently, I can assure you she will be surprised when she returns. Of course, I won’t be here. I’ll be in Houston on Monday. That part of the juggling act might work in my favor.
What I figured out yesterday is that despite the fact that I’m not as young as I once was, I can still be the juggler at the circus who also doubles as the lion tamer and the trapeze artist.
All My Best!