Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Without question

During the research that I did for the Safety meeting about stress, I read that Mother Teresa confessed "I have no time for myself" and would take a week-long retreat every so often to revive herself.
I mentioned it during our guests' lecture and he stopped and looked at me. He was genuinely frustrated that Mother Teresa's writings about her dark and questioning times were giving the Vatican cause to consider rescinding her sainthood.
How insanely arrogant and hypocritical is it to assume that no one of value in the religious world ever questioned God and their purpose?
In the Bible, Jesus wrestles with Satan in the garden and then cries out on the cross? And those are just moments that were recorded. There were hundreds of thousands of moments that went unreported. Do you think they were all moments of certainty?
To question and wonder and doubt is natural. Anyone who doesn't, who never ever does, is not healthy.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

how my grandmother died

My grandmother was incredibly strong.
She lived alone to the day she died and nothing stopped her from getting things done.

After my mother died and I finally had a car, I would go to see her (150 miles) fairly often because I needed to.

I would take her to the store, over to my aunts, out to see friends, to Bingo....

My grandmother was asked to speak to some young people, probably in their teens, about the history of her county. They were to be cleaning a graveyard in a very tiny town and she was to tell them about it.
She was looking forward to the event months before and would talk about it often.

She even had her hair done so she'd be spiffy.

The weekend before she was to give the talk I had planned to go see her, but I was wiped out and I called to excuse myself.

She went, on a senior coach, to the graveyard. The kids were working and she was telling them about the pioneers buried there.

There happens to be a building there, for meetings and recreation. They went inside and she was telling them more about it all when suddenly she told the teacher that she didn't feel so good and the teacher (who happens to have the same first name as my grandmother's mother) sat beside her and let my grandmother rest against her, and right there in front of those kids, in the teacher's arms, she smiled and slipped away.

I was at work when my father called to tell me and I lost it. That last time I could have gone hurt, but knowing she was gone... was so awful
(You know, never tell someone by phone if you can avoid it unless you know they are with someone who loves them and can hold them and keep them from shock.)

My aunt has called him and he and I drove to grandmother's as soon as we could.
All we knew is that she was gone and that even though she had a "Do Not Resuscitate" order by her front door, paramedics had worked on her.
This was the information my aunt had been able to get. My father and I went to her house and noticed that it was clean and nothing had been disturbed.
Dad knew that paramedics don't pick up after themselves.
We went home and he wrote to the local newspaper for information.
The teacher saw his note and wrote to Dad.

She was a good soldier's daughter. She finished her last mission and faded away.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What do you do with that?

Learning to love is what life is about.

I went to the Singing Christmas Tree and the conductor stated that if Jesus had been a philosopher they could have debated him, if he'd been a warrior they could have fought him and if he'd been a religionist they could have dismissed him, but he was Love... "and what do you do with that?"


word to the wise

"For fast-acting relief, try slowing down."
--Lily Tomlin

bonus feature

I was nominated to become the new "Safety Leader" at work several months ago. It's a challenge because, as a corporate office, there just aren't as many daily hazards as there are at our branches and plants where industrial safety is an every moment concern.

So instead of technical details and industry standards, we talk have been talking about things that help keep us safe enough to be able to come in to work every day.

I've talked about lightning safety, heat-related illnesses, food poisoning, holiday decorating safety and I have invited in guest speakers to address the flu (the Health Department), general everyday safety (a police lieutenant), and now I have asked a psychotherapist to address

I thought about taking on the topic myself but I know that I am probably more affected by stress than anyone else I work with in that office. Or maybe it is that I am more likely to visibly vent it and react to it than other people. Whatever the case, I could have done the research and come up with a passable presentation but I didn't think that anything I could learn in less than a month's time would really make me more able to cope with the squeeze I feel on a daily basis.

But here's what this entry is really all about:
The company has a database of brief slide shows and in the past the presenter has read the slides to us. It was truly boring. I know secrets that set me apart from previous presenters:

1. If you engage people, they will learn something.

2. People love to talk. If you want a guest speaker who will talk for free, all you have to do is find someone who deals with the topic for a living and ask them to come visit. It really is that simple.

3. People love free stuff. Whenever possible, get them handouts and freebies. (I scored sunscreen samples for the heat talk and hand sanitizer for the flu talk.)

4. Reputable websites have almost everything you need (dot gov, dot org.)

5. I ask what people want to hear about and give them a chance to suggest something different.

The difference is that it takes about 24 to 72 hours to research and plan a good 30 to 60 minute talk. Nobody gave that before. They just read the slides. ((Snooze))

Finding the topic is going to be more of a challenge as months go by. I will eventually run out of topics from the company line on safety. That's where my co-workers have to do their part. They have to tell me what they want for a topic unless the suggested monthly topic is apropos.

Post script: There was a lapse in communication and I thought the speaker wasn't coming so I was studying to be able to present the topic myself, but he confirmed yesterday. So I have spent all of my free time for the past six days on it because I wasn't sure that he would come... It's all good. Bring him on!