Yesterday was a packed day. I really had no idea how I was going to do all the things I hadcommitted to, and then true to this 2020-2021 year of hell, a few more unplanned things got thrown in.
So, I may be being a little dramatic, but it really was a full day. What I had not calculated was having to go to the office because the documents I thought were saved on my computer were not. As I was racing to get the documents and get back home before a scheduled meeting, there was a knock on the parish door. "M'am, we're here about an hour and a half early to check the kitchen hood. We're supposed to meet M but wanted to come now."
I looked down at my watch. I looked at the man. I thought about the computer I needed for my upcoming meeting and pictured it on my desk at home. "I'm sorry," I said, "I can't help you now. You'll need to come back at the scheduled time." "No problem," he replied, "We'll go get some lunch and come back."
No problem for him--BIG problem for me.
As I drove home I kept hearing a very mean voice in my head taunting me with, "Who do you think you are? Some kind of priest you are. Are you too good to wait with people caring for the buildings?" I really dislike that voice.
Later as I was taking a walk, I thought about two things. (Actually, I think about them quite frequently....)
Years ago (21 to be exact) when we owned a Sylvan Learning Center, I came in one day, saw Chris in his office, and found our manager cleaning the bathroom. "What are you doing?" I asked her, "That's not your job. You don't have to clean the bathroom." "Oh it's okay," Kelly replied, "There was a little bit of a mess from yesterday. I don't mind doing it particularly because I know Chris would do it too. I'll do anything knowing Chris would too." An example of a true servant leader. I have never forgotten that story, how proud of Chris I was, and that I swore I would strive to be that kind of person.
The second story I thought about was in 7th grade when I lost almost all my friends. One took me aside and explained why I was no longer in the friend group, "You're pretty stuck-up and think you're smarter and better than everyone else." I knew I didn't really think that so I asked what she meant. "The other day when y'all were grading spelling tests, you told T, 'It's okay if I miss one because I know I got the bonus right." That day I learned, make sure you never do anything that makes you stand out or even give the impression you think you're too good for anyone or anything.
Oh, and there's a third thing. I'm really trying hard to not over-function, to know what's mine to do, and to prioritize.
I kept walking trying to get the discomfort to stop. I wanted to help and be available. I didn't think I was too important, but what I needed to do, to be available for at that time, was something only I could do. I do believe I made the right decision, and I'm even feeling okay about it (mostly), but I am reminded about how our stories or the way we remember our stories, can impact our lives for years.
This morning I'm again remembering the story of Kelly and Chris, and for the first time I remember something else to add to the story. Chris was there in his office doing what he needed to do, and it was probably something no one else could have done.
And I'm also remembering those little girls including me from all those years ago. We were trying to grow up the best we could, and it wasn't easy and sometimes it was painful. I'm sure I did behave in ways that led those friends to believe those things about me even though it was not at all how I saw myself. But, we were all young and trying to figure life out, trying to figure out who we were, and trying to grow into the people God created us to be and that is both messy and a lifelong journey.
What I wish I had known then, been confident in then was that I knew my heart and God knew my heart. Well, maybe I still need to remember that....
(and some better stories...)