Today’s “Work-at-Home Wednesday” actually had me out of the house more than in it – worked at two different coffee places, both with free wireless access, and topped it off at our nearby bookstore the Tattered Cover where author Robert Fulgham gave a short talk before signing copies of his recently published book.
It so happens that the book was first published months ago, in the
That’s how it came to be that the
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Yesterday was the first meeting of the year for my church’s women’s Bible study. I have a hard time appreciating women-only events; they often seem to bring out or concentrate feminine traits that I don’t like to see concentrated! Well, this time I tried to put aside my preferences, and prayed hard: prayed to be able to enjoy these ‘ladies’ for their own sake – to believe they each had a story – and to listen. The group organizers had each person share what her perfect day would be. I tried to pay attention to and remember their stories, instead of letting my mind dwell on what I was going to say and how I was going to say it. The mother with young children longed for a spotless house and someone to make dinner; the empty nester just wanted her children back, no matter how loud or messy. One woman wanted to shop with her girlfriends; another to sit on the porch of the country cabin drinking coffee with her family. Some wanted a day with no alarm clock; others would take the early-morning walk on the beach with their husbands.
Well, it is a question I’ve been pondering lately. My pastor from Washington called me not long ago to remind me that if there was anything I’d always wanted to do, that they would stand with me, that as far as they were concerned I pretty much had a blank check… I suppose that’s true. My supporters are just so – supportive! I was touched just to realize that someone would WANT me to have a perfect day. But didn’t know how to answer. What DO I want - that I could have - if I could name it? What would be the kind of day (or week, or month) that would really refresh and renew me? Nothing really rose to the surface as I thought about it. I’m still thinking. If a fairy godmother or the Make-a-Wish Foundation or just a coalition of people who loved you offered to make a dream of yours come true, what would you choose?
When I told my co-worker Keith about this he mentioned that when Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry got out of prison in Afghanistan, their home church sent them and a couple friends on an all-expenses-paid vacation to someplace fun and comfortable. That it seemed like a weird thing to them, and to some others, but it was somehow the right thing to do.
I don’t know if I have any friends of the kind I could say “hey, let’s go to
The trip to the Balkans and
Next month my mother and sister are coming to
I tend to think having a good time is more a decision than a set of circumstances – and believe I should be able to have something close to a perfect day just by enjoying the days I have – like Robert Fulgham. I’m not naturally playful, but more serious and moody by nature. The loneliness problem can be pretty fierce. But I do find the world an intriguing place, and its inhabitants quite fascinating! So it’s not that hard to make my own fun or find it in strange but everyday places.
I’m also not a methodical person, really: not a creature of habit. I don’t do things the same way twice. So that also made it hard to describe my ideal day. It should have some element of surprise, discovery, newness. So who could describe it, until after it happens? Might be easier to drop the idealism and say, what would be a good day – or week – or month – and not the ‘best’ one. I told the women’s group that, and mentioned my recent reflections that happiness seems to require each day having some balance of purposefulness and meaningless – that a steady diet or even just a whole week of just one or just the other – is too much for me.
Little things like Work-at-Home Wednesday and the chance to sit and drink coffee and listen to stories at the Tattered Cover tonight do a lot for me. And I’ve also (strangely) become the party-organizer at the office. Wouldn’t you like to join us for this week’s event, with its appropriately corny name, ‘Flapjack Friday’?! Yes, breakfast together before staff meeting. I knew my co-worker Matt saw pancake-making as something of a specialty, and sure enough when I suggested it he was quick to volunteer!