Monthly Archives: November 2011

Letters from the Past

Tonight, while I filed a business letter, a file that held letters that I had sent to my family through the years popped open inviting me to read. The letter at the top of the file was one that I wrote to my father a month before he passed. Even though he lived with me, I still found it comforting to write him a letter.

I spent a little time skimming through the letters beginning with the one at the bottom and moving forward through time. I enjoyed reminiscing but was amused at what I found important to impart in the letter at the time seem so unimportant now.

It reminded me of the challenges that present themselves everyday. There are some very serious, sometimes gruesome challenges, but the vast majority of things that worry us, bother us or annoy us really don’t amount to much years later. Many don’t amount to much even days later.

Say you encounter a surly cashier that really dampens your day, do you really want to spend a lot of time being aggravated by that. Will it have any lasting effect on your life an hour from now or a day from now or even a month from now? If you reacted to that cashier with a smile and wished them a great day, you just may have made a lasting effect on them.

Besides realizing that many things that seemed important then are merely moments in my past, it was an enjoyable stroll through time. There were also some treasured memories in there as well, especially those letters that recalled day trips with my children or family events. It was never “things” that were important, it was the time spent with loved ones.

I guess I better start making more memories. I hope that all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and reflected on the blessings that abound around us.


Downsize Survivor

If you have been following my blog, you might know that my employer has been reorganizing. The results are finally in. I am a downsizing survivor. I am blessed and grateful for continued employment. I am no longer a supervisor or in management, but I am still working.

The persons let go represent not only wonderful human beings but also each was an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience.  The company provided severance pay, some continued benefits and maybe even some outplacement services. It is well and good that the company provides something for the departing individuals. I fear that the survivors may be overlooked.

Immediately after the announcement, I spoke with my employees for a few minutes letting them know that it had been a honor to be their supervisor for the last three years and that they would be working for their new supervisor in a few days.

Even though they were not part of the reorganization this time, they were nonetheless affected by the changes. They were perplexed, maybe a bit angry, and uncertain about the near future. Of course, a situation such as this can also cause feelings of distrust, questions about loyalty, resistance to change, stress and fear. I want to make an effort to help them move through this grieving process. It is grieving. They were close to those who had lost their jobs. Their relationships has been stressed. Duties may change as management figures out who is available to do what and who fits best to do it.

I told my group today that I would continue to support them with my experience, my knowledge and my presence, but could not and would not interfere with management functions. As our new functions fall into place and evolve, I promised my co-workers that I would do my job to the best of my ability. You don’t need to have a title to be a leader. The Tao says in the 66th poem, In order to master people one must speak as their servant; in order to lead people one must follow them.

In Paul’s letters to the Colossians, he reminds us that all we do we should do for the glory of God. “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord  as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:22-25 NIV Of course, we are not slaves, we are employees, but if even slaves are expected to do their sincere best, then I think we should provide no less.

I will do my very best in my new position and hope to bring glory to God and a certain calmness to those around me. My personal goal is to continue to lead by following and setting a good example. Thanks to all my loyal readers for tagging along with me in this brief storm in this journey called my life.


Storms in Life

I have written about seasons in our lives, but like any season, there are occasional storms. In our physical life, these storms can cause damage to trees, our homes or even cause flooding. But often the storms drive us inside but bring life-bringing water. Storms in our personal life can be destructive but can also be instructive.

We all have experienced personal storms, where we are deluged by several situations occurring at once or one critical situation that worries us and take much of our attention. I have written before when I had become ill and thought I would be unable to return to work. This was a devastating time for me, but it was a chance for me to sort out what was really important in my life. That particular storm was both destructive but eventually instructive.

We are faced with trials, caused either by ourselves or others. The writer of Hebrews states; Endure hardship as discipline. – Hebrews 12:7 NIV. If we think of storms as a way to learn lessons, we can purposely look for the lesson. The writer of Hebrews goes on in verse 11; No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

The lessons can be a new outlook on life, a solution not thought of before, a demonstration of strength that you never thought you could achieve. It may even allow us to see the love and caring of others. It can build character and perseverance that we need for another time.

My current storm involves a threat of unemployment due to company reorganization. Whether I lose my job next week or not, I will consider it an opportunity to move on to the next chapter in my life. Like anyone, just not knowing is scary, but we cannot let fear paralyze us.

There is a storm in my life. I could try my best not to get wet, or I could learn to dance in the rain. I think I’ll dance. Yes, I will dance.


Free Time, Where Art Thou?

Have you ever felt that there just isn’t enough time in the day? I would be very surprised if you didn’t. I often wish I had more time. But, then I realize that I actually do have time, but that I am just too exhausted to enjoy it.

In our high stress, go, go, go world, it is difficult to find time to relax and even when we do find time, we tend not to relax. But then we have time savers, right? You know, the technology that was to bring us so much leisure time that visionaries a century ago were convinced that work would be a hobby.

I have access to computers, email, barcode scanners, electric pallet jacks, smart phones, forklifts and lots of other labor saving devices. And this means (drum roll here) that I can do even more than ever before, and expected to do more. Oh well, so much for the leisure time my ancestors predicted for us.

Many very helpful sites recommend that you do a time inventory, prioritizing time and scheduling “me” time. Actually, I think this is excellent advice. Learning to say no to additional obligation creates free time as well.

So how do you spend your free time? My ideal “me” time is to sit silently and read or meditate. I don’t mind watching TV either as long as it isn’t mindless drivel. There really are quality programs on TV if you seek them out.

I will admit that my favorite leisure time is that spent with family away from home with no actual itinerary planned. I just enjoy my family as we meander through the day. I do not consider this wasted time but an opportunity to spend time with the ones I love. I love the time spent conversing, laughing, walking here and there. I think we all enjoy the change of scenery. It is very satisfying.

Do I have free time? Yes, I do. I suppose the better question would be is how do I choose to spend the time I have?