Tuesday, October 19, 2010

victory dances

When I ruthlessly conquer technology... I do victory dances in my office.  Today, for example, I printed out an address label... without a single hitch/reprint/typo/printer jam/user error.  It's a seemingly small victory, but it was enough to make me smile and bounce up and down in my chair.  I have mastered basic administrative tasks.

Yesterday, I nearly successfully made a delicious, healthy, fat-free muffin.  They were indeed healthy and indeed delicious but the fat-freeness got compromised when I added a cup of chopped pecans for my nut-loving roommate:

No, it's not mouth-watering in appearance.  But let me tell you what this is:  a pumpkin-spice-applesauce-bran muffin with pecans.  Fantastic.  Healthy.  Victory dance worthy.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

sharing my hope.

It was another hard day at the office.

Although... I did have a fabulous lunch in which I got to retreat to a pleasantly abandoned corner of a Starbucks, and drink coffee and unwind for 45 minutes.  My brief selah from the outside world made me feel fabulous enough that my commonly dreary walk back to work turned into a spunky strut down sunny Congress Avenue, coffee in hand, with my heels clicking and earrings dingling.  It was one of those rare moments where just the sunshine and air make you feel like you're on the top of the world.

But then... it was another hard day at the office.  So, after I left work 45 minutes late and forced myself to point my car in the direction of the prayer meeting, I felt like I had been squished and desperately needed some hope and a deep tissue massage.  On my way to search for food in downtown traffic, I tried to let go of the tension while complaining to the Lord about life.  When I finally got to the drive-through at Taco Cabana, a voice that perhaps on an easier day I would have ignored said -- "You are going through a hard period in your life right now, but you have Me as an unfading hope even if everything else is crumbling.  Why don't you share this hope with this person who is serving you dinner?"  So before I drove away, I handed the guy a tract about the Lord and explained why I was giving it to him. The instant I drove away, tears of release and joy came to my eyes.  No matter what, I have an unfading hope in my life.

However, I still very badly need a deep tissue massage.

[tkung, iphone photographer]

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

getting thicker skin.

During my two years of Bible school I volunteered myself to embark a courageous venture: to play the piano for classes and church meetings ranging from 100-4000 people in attendance.  My only formal piano training had been for a total of about 2 years, and only as a secondary instrument.  What was I thinking?  Having a hundred or two persons waiting, listening, poised for you to lead them in song is not a situation of a little pressure.  So, initially, of course, I botched it big time.  Once, I began an introduction, butchered it, was mortified, and apparently the best option at the time seemed to be to STOP, yell "I'm sorry!" loud enough for half the classroom to hear, and timidly start again.  And many times after such experiences I would come away promising that I would NEVER play for a meeting again.  Yet, I did.  All two years.  And I gained the necessary confidence and skill.

Here is my point:  My being able to play the piano for large groups of people came at the cost of many cringes on the part of my listeners and accompanimentees, and many bangings of my head against the wall in mortification on my part.  There was no number of hours of practice that I could have put in that would substitute for simply getting over the stomach-wrenching fear of playing in public.  I had to learn by failure.  And my failure affected other people.  That's just the way it went.

The reason for this story is that I believe the same thing is happening again as I learn how to do my new job.  When it comes right down to it, I'm a recent college grad that still hasn't learned how to walk the professional walk and (especially) talk the professional talk.  So every time I get that desperate cringing feeling when I say "yeah" instead of "yes", "just a sec" instead of "one moment", or "can't go" instead of "unable to attend" (all of which I occasionally pessimistically view as a fake, political mask), it has helped me to realize that I have lived through repeated failure before and came out stronger because of it.  Though the aforementioned failures sometimes make other people feel offended or put out or awkward or uncomfortable -- as much as I hate it, unfortunately I believe there may be no other way.  I guess I'm on the oh-so-bumpy road to professionalism.

After giving it even further thought, I realized parts of this principle can also be applied to a much more frivolous, yet also very practical matter: new shoes.  Usually beautiful, rocket-high-heeled new shoes such as this recent purchase:
The following scenario has repeated itself with many a pair of new shoes:
1) buy new, beautiful shoes that I insist to myself are "pretty comfortable".
2) wear for 4-12 hours, feel fabulous for 1-2 hours, then develop blisters and raw wounds from new shoes.
3) I admit the shoes are NOT AT ALL comfortable and wonder why I wasted the money on shoes I will NEVER wear again.
4) two weeks later the blisters and scabs turn to callouses and I am willing to give the beautiful shoes that I am still secretly itching to wear another chance.
5) repeat steps 2 through 4 as many times as necessary.
6) eventually, the shoes again become beautiful, fabulous, and "pretty comfortable" and I wear them completely out.

So, I've been learning every day.  To pick myself up.  Shake off the dust.  Dress the wounds.  Try again.  And hope my skin gets thicker for it.