December 11, 2006

To log or not to log - the remix


Part I

Late Friday night…

Busy Friday with ignorance of new check lists. Humorous...with rain.
Now that this is written, the manager will not have to be concerned about being 'talked to' at a meeting because I did not write a log.
This seems an odd perspective to cultivate in sharing our stories.
A bit contrived, with a pinch of paternal fear...more later.

Part II

A Saturday morning…

Other than my grandfather speaking wisdom into my life, “If you only do one thing…you should always chew your corn.” I often recall my father telling me “Do…undo…and redo, just don’t mildew. And if you must, do wacka-do like the wacka-do do.” If is from this ever so lofty sense of ill-advised heritage that I ponder why I do what I do? What is the motivation behind my operation? Although I may be alone in this, I would openly submit that I do not complete all the tasks on my ‘round to-it’ list as if it were unto the Lord. Mostly it’s ‘cause someone told or asked me. And here in lays my ‘struggle’ of the moment…not unlike a favorite flavor of ice cream from your childhood you’ve long since quit desiring, haven’t seen in years, but had to try again just to see if it was at all the same…and then it wasn’t.

The asking me part I have made some progress in…I do in fact have some boundaries that offer the opportunity to bow out of a request. At one level this is a simple and base form of self preservation, and protection from my patterns of reaction to the world around me in my past. This is also moderately new, and still in development. There is power in asking…and though I often saw my path paved with the desires of others, I do now notice that was just in my head. Each morning when I wake up, and see I’m the same person I was when I laid down to sleep, I tell myself, “well I guess I get to keep doing this today.” And, in most avenues, I’m quite content with that. As I read and do, I often take note of the remodeling sign placed across my dreams and desires.

The being told part is often the problem area. One of my favorite knee-jerk reactions (rather than thoughtful action) is - ”Why, on God’s green earth, do you want me to do that?” Now, I have placed the justification of motive upon you, and have claimed that it is an add-on in the messy collection of doings in my life (a life on loan). Often I am told, “if this isn’t done I’ll hear about it…and I don’t like hearing about it.” Which in my mind translates to either - unintended motivation from benevolent leadership, suppressed realization that the undertaking may be unfruitful in its present context (as it drowns in legalism), or we just want to stave off the ‘man’ for a few days because we’d like a breather.

More later…

Part III


Penny-wise and dollar short…This all brings me to the point of being required to speak/write about what God is doing in and around my life, both in and through Yaks. I am assuming that is the point of the exercise. That, and maybe the odd note regarding product placement, or some other such food service detail. And in my own way this is all a thick description of just that very thing.

To simply scribble that friend did this or that, a customer did this or that, she didn’t leave me a check, this couple is going through this or that, people from my place of employment came in, the crew leader has such and such a management style, the check-list grew to 15 pages (fast becoming as voluminous as the EPA’s Quality Assurance Program Protocol [QAPP] documents), and that my mind is filled with questions from throughout my week…just doesn’t happen, during or suddenly, at the end of a shift. A sticky-note approach seems lacking, unless that’s what is desired.

So motivation, as I might see it, is to complete this task not simply to check off a box on a list, but for each of us to offer a piece of ourselves. And in this, (at present) allow a small group of staff a glimpse into the whole of the Yaks experience through the eyes of the volunteers…to let the conversation develop in a manner that may bear fruit. As we may step out in faith, we can find that strength, courage and wisdom the Lord works through us. These stories, for me, need time to percolate…but you can be sure if we run out of Koffee I will let you all know ASAP.

Part IV

Sunday evening, and into Monday morning…

It’s been an emotionally and physically draining week, and, as is becoming more familiar, I find that I am not the man I used to be. Given that I have had the opportunity to walk though awkward and emotionally charged moments all week I had a rather unique prayer. “God, let me place this white elephant in a jar with a child proof cap; and allow me to reach a shelf high enough to keep it from children, elderly and the infirm.” That didn’t happen, so I walked through it knowing that how I respond is what a ‘Christian’ is and does in the eyes of those watching.

Thursday comes, and I’m done with people. As I walk through the door of my temporary home I am immediately met by the Lawn Guy from Yaks that wants to visit. This I know is huge. We chat about Christmas plans, his wife and my idea that she may not actually exist at all. A roomie eventually enters the living room and we are taking those first steps to being real company, and then becoming friends.

A couple then calls and arrives to share the news of possible employment and those unspoken struggles. Our company has grown from me alone in my head, to six with needs for companionship. Eventually I must leave for worship practice, and leave the group to my roomie. I am aware he is actively modeling my actions (rather than reaction) to community and those involved.

So it’s now Friday at Yaks and I get to watch the boss try and make Big John walk around the building in the rain to his meeting…I offer to walk him through the back, and joke with the boss about being mean to the senior patron with health conditions. Next I find that she hates the color purple and is distressed by her mother’s outfit for the Ladies Christmas Party. “If I ever do that, just shoot me.” I offer the idea of repenting to her mother, and we laugh through our play arguments.

The evening is busy and I am concerned about the time. The morning will come quickly, and it’s a busy ‘free day’ in the morning. With some guilt (as I always feel I not doing something), I visit with a friend from my job and his wife. Great folks, and looking for some community…their anonymity has been bought and paid for, and now they occasionally look to trade it in.

In my mind I see we have all but completed our closing duties, and then become aware that the dreaded closing list has changed. Crap! A portion of the crew is livid. I recall the words of the dwarf in the ‘Return of the King’ – “The odds are against us, and little chance for survival…what are we waiting for!” – and here’s were the fun part happens. If I freak out, it gets messy. My example is being watched, and in all reality though it’s after 10pm, it’s early. So I laugh-and-grumble, get the tasks together and move through it knowing that ignorance has never been a sturdy defense. Ask anyone with a badge…it’s been the same through the ages.

Eventually were home and laughing about it. We see another facet of what commitment in community looks like…messy and irritating sometimes. And I find that regardless of my emotional state I now have a dozen sister-daughters and a few bother-sons. See you next Friday…maybe I’ll grow up a bit too.

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