Friday, January 8, 2016

Keeping the Lights Lit

I confess that I have not put away all of my Christmas stuff yet--all the decorations are packed away, but my little trees that came with lights are still out.  As I drove to church last night for a budget meeting, I was glad to see that some houses still twinkled with lights.

Of course, on a day like yesterday, with bad news from stock markets around the world, it's good to have extra lights as night falls.  I am less worried about the Chinese stock market (most of the world isn't invested heavily in that market), but I am worried that our collective jitters will jounce us right into a recession.

It feels like we've never really left the last recession, but the truth is, if one looks at traditional economic cycles, we are due for a downturn.

But let me not focus on this bad news on a Friday.  Let me instead note that yesterday I spoke to our new students; this was the first time that I was asked to be part of New Student Orientation.  The students paid attention.  They were engaged.  It was a delight to be there with them.

In my capacity as head of the General Education department, I meet many students.  Most of them come through my door because they are upset or because they are in trouble.  Students don't seek me out to tell me what a wonderful experience they are having.

In between, I got a variety of tasks done--in a week of many meetings, it's tough to get the ongoing work done. 

And then, since I was at my desk by 7 a.m. yesterday, I left work at 3, which felt subversive somehow, yet I reminded myself that I put in 8 hours of work.  I came home and made cookies for our Library Committee meeting today.

I won't be at that meeting except to begin it and to hand the baton to the librarian.  Yes, I am double-booked, but I didn't do that to myself.  I have a meeting where we will go over the hiring process.  It's a process that seems byzantine to me, so perhaps this meeting will be useful.

Our budget meeting last night was useful in a different way.  We have moved the discussion of the budget to a different meeting on an evening, and the vote is held on a Sunday.  Perhaps we have fewer people in the church who want to argue over our budget.  Perhaps people are less willing to argue if they have to make a special trip.

I've never understood the need to argue anyway.  It's not like we have any extra money at all to allocate.  We barely cover our bills, and that's about it.  We're also lucky that we don't have to have the wrenching conversations about what to cut.

Last night was the first budget meeting night when no church members came to the meeting.  Therefore, it was a quick meeting.

With luck, today's meetings will also be quick.  And let me also remember that even on days when meetings aren't quick, I often find poem inspirations.

I'm tired right now, so it's hard to believe this will be a day of inspiration.  But many a narrative reminds us that when we are tired, we are more open to that inspiration.

Yes, a good reminder:  let me be open, let me be present.

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