Monday, September 12, 2016

Clinton's Pneumonia and Modern Life

So Hillary Clinton has been campaigning even though she has pneumonia.  Part of me wants to make a comment on how this situation is similar to that of most women I know:  we slog on no matter how crummy we feel.  Part of me wants to comment on how Clinton is a metaphor for modern work:   we can't take time off when we get sick.

Part of me is just tired of this political season.  Either candidate, Trump or Clinton, will be the oldest person elected president, and while I'm in favor of experienced people continuing to contribute to society, I'm wondering if the way we elect presidents--and then expect them to serve--is just too harrowing.  I could make similar arguments for many of our workplaces.

Yesterday I was feeling ineffectual, as I thought about how long we'd been working on creating the quilts for Lutheran World Relief.  In the 2 years that I've been in charge of this process, we've finished 2.  And since we only work on them 1-3 days a year, that's not bad. 

As long as I don't compare my progress to that of churches that have lots of quilters who meet on a weekly basis to complete quilts, I'm O.K.  But yesterday, I was feeling ineffectual.

Then I came home and tried to use Skype to join a planning group that was meeting at Lutheridge (a camp that's 12 hours away) to plan the 2017 Create in Me retreat.  I was able to participate for about 5 minutes before the sound started getting wonky, and then the computer froze.  I was never able to get back on.

For about an hour after admitting defeat, I felt a strange mixture of shame and guilt.  The shame came because I couldn't get the technology to work--but why would I feel shame?  It's not my fault as far as I can tell.  I planned to participate, but then I couldn't--so why the guilt?  I couldn't participate in that way, but I hadn't completely wimped out.  I led a Facebook planning party for 8 days which generated some good ideas.  But still, I feel guilt because other volunteers are doing more.

As I've listened to coverage of Clinton's pneumonia, I'm using it as a reminder:  we can't all do everything, and if we're not careful, we may end up making the situation worse. 

I'm also using the LWR quilt as a reminder of something a wise yoga teacher once told me:  "Don't compare yourself to everyone else.  It won't help your balance."

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