Across the Universe
I always end up with the best people in the whole universe working for the Center. Ultra sensitive students (well, except Dan--Joke) teach me constantly by example. It has been this way for several years now. You seem to be in a continuous state of awareness about the condition of others around you.
I, on the other hand, walk in my own clouds and stumble through life hitting doors and trees, unaware when someone else is in need until they actually reach for the Kleenex in my office. For example, I have been ill. (I feel so much better today that I suddenly realize just how ill I've been. Thanks everyone for holding things together, for helping my supervisors, for doing your job with diligence and responsibility.) However, certain--unmentionable in-an-open-blog-- elements still linger from the illness. This afternoon as I sat in a session with a student from South Africa, my stomach dropped out from where it usually sits, and I panicked. I didn't know how to excuse myself without being rude, but it became critical that I move quickly, so I yelled for Kiersten (who had an ID card in her hand to swipe) to come quickly and show Eric how to indent a long quotation, Puleeeese! As I walked/ran down the hall to the restroom, I thought, thank Heavens Kiersten didn't protest, joke, quibble, or question me. Bless her heart. Later, I looked up and Em Po was waving her finger in the air--my own sign for "wrap it up--NOW." Too funny. Then when I walked into my office, I found a bowl of fruit and some Yoplait with a note: "You look like you could use a snack."
Now, I'm sure some of you have been in similar situations while tutoring ESL students from Siberia who don't understand the workings of our sickly soft, unable-to-play-soccer, Caucasian bodies. But did I ever notice and run to your rescue? Nooooo. Never. Not once. I only notice if you're talking too much in a session or if you're late. Last week, when I came back to my office after many days of murkiness, I found food and vitamin C (which Lance had made lighter by 150+. "We need them too, Leanna."), and a sweet note from my "supervisors" taped to my screen. Then here comes three Assistants to the door, bearing more gifts: Jami brought me lotion, which I bought for the front desk; Meghan had the basket of mints in her hands; Em Po brought...Kleenex from the front? Cute. They just wanted to bring me something to make it better. So they faked it. And I loved the feelings behind it. It reminded me of the Christmas Jaren and Greg came early and realized they hadn't brought any gifts? Does this shame them? NO, while I'm rushing to wrap a few paltry things for the spouses I forgot were coming, they go from room to room of my house, collect small treasures, sneak into the loft to wrap them, and address them all to me. When I opened one later, I said, "Geez, I love this; I just bought one just like it at DI." Such is the mettle of those who have served here and who serve here now.
During that beautiful snowstorm over conference, I lost half the trees in my yard. Big clumps of trees fell as my retribution for killing a beaver this spring. I've tried to clean it up, but it's been overwhelming. I could barely pull the tree limbs into piles, sweating, slightly cussing, retreating to the couch in total defeat, hoping to find even a John Wayne movie on TV to distract me from having to spend all my free time in the bathroom. (Wait till you try to play soccer at sixty, Anona; the realization that you won't have a good functioning body back until the resurrection hits you from behind. I still gasp with surprise when I can't even climb on top of my truck to pull a branch off the wires without scraping my knee, which caused me to pull the branch down on my face. Ahhh.) But last Saturday I came home to this note: Sis. Morgan (this rules out my hipster and cowboy friends and half the intellectual company I keep), I didn't realize the amount of limbs until I got here! I didn't have a chain saw so I couldn't do much. I hope I didn't make a bigger mess than there was. Thanks for all you do! Anonymous. I looked around and someone had pulled trees, brush and limbs into four or five huge piles--as tall as my house. I remember thinking whoever did this is very tired right now, and I prayed for blessings to come down on his/her head. "Make a bigger mess?" Hardly. It would have taken days and weeks for me to do what this person had given up a Saturday to do. And then the note ends with "Thanks for all I do"? Sure. Did I feel humbled? What do you think? Good people. Good company. Good job. Good year.
(Now, will these blessings and this current humility keep me from yelling at you from now on? Hmm . . . .)