practice

Christians, Christians assert, are inherently not fully Christian unless they live in community among other believers. It is the practice of being in community that leads us to fully be (and become) who we are (and who we’re meant to be). We’re part of a single body, with varied capacities but a unified purpose. So it makes sense that you belong with other members of that body. Hands, feet, etc.

Widen the scope and it still works: Humans, too, become ever more human by the practice of being in community with other humans. A human in isolation has little hope of fully developing — we need to talk to, look at, study, love, be loved by each other to learn more of ourselves, in turn. The others are our mirrors and windows, shifting at different angles; they show us bits and shadows and sometimes, full-on reflections of who we are, who we would like to be, what we would like to avoid becoming.

And despite all the aforementioned glass metaphoring, our greatest moments of revelation lie in collisions against other humans (and the stormy circumstances of life-in-general that brew said collisions) that sometimes slice right through and reveal the pinky soft flesh of what we’re really made of, just beneath the manicured lawn of all our pretty surfaces.

And if the being among others — at work, in traffic, at home, and in the church — is an essential part of practicing the art of humanness, each day holds that much more meaning, promise. Each day is another day for practice toward becoming more and more refined as a human person. One more opportunity to collect against your 10,000 hours toward master human-ship.

I’m gonna try my best to go to work tomorrow morning with this in mind. That I’m going out into the world to practice my being among people, and to try my darnedest to do good job at this being (a good) human thing. That I won’t fear colliding into people and things but rather embrace those opportunities to learn a lil about myself, to peer into my pinky dermis and below, see what I’m made of, and grow from there. That it’s a gift to be appreciated and used well, not just squandered waiting for another Friday.

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trivia-l

It’s often the smallest things that feel like the biggest deal in the fickle world of my emotional life.

Just as the crush of work has eased a bit, I’ve started using the whiteboard at the entrance to our team’s little cubicle block to present passersby with trivia questions with multiple choice answers. Asking about the history of the English alphabet, the short-lived other name of Uranus, the tone in which most toilets flush… etc. So, anything, really, that struck my fancy from Buzzfeed’s list of fun lil factoids.

It was a bit of a struggle to get people to interact with the board at first — people feel weird about interacting with technically-other-people’s whiteboards, I guess. Or maybe it’s the finality of that dry erase marker — declaring yourself right or wrong, even though literally no one is keeping track of who picks which answer. In any case, because of the board-shyness, for the first couple questions, I’d catch anyone who paused at the question and implore them to PICK an answer right there!

But once it got going, the little conversations that would bubble up around that board made me the happiest little cube-dweller EVER. I’d turn right round and engage people in small talk, conjecturing togetherly about what the last letter added to the English alphabet might’ve been (it was J!!) — and how chatting about fascinating it would be if Uranus had been named LOUISE at one point (it wasn’t; GEORGE was the correct answer there). Just having an excuse to interact with the people who walk, eat, talk, work around me all the time on subjects not related to work was refreshing, even life-giving.

And the beautiful thing is that it costs zero dollars. Takes no more than a few seconds of everyone’s lives. But gives us so much intangible connectivity as coworkers and co-cube dwellers.

I’m notoriously intense as a coworker — that’s what my CFA team pointed out as my greatest strength and greatest weakness. It means I focus first and foremost on work, even at the detriment of the opportunities for connection-making with the people who make it all happen alongside me.

As I walked out of the office at the end of the day, that fateful day of the first trivia question, I realized how springy my step was, how positively whistle-while-you-work I was feeling. All cause of a trivia-l little addition to my ordinary workday. In this way, I remember how it’s in all the little moments that life is actually lived. The big, milestoney markers may be the way you tell the big-brushstroke story of your existence, but it’s all the little crumbs of daily life that make all the difference in your difference-making.

So we trivia on.

this I will miss

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yap, hashtag filter, but you know what, the naked-eye version is actually even more beautiful.
yap. this I will miss.
and snack-sharing in the pod,
and watering baby plants,
and ELIXIR OF LIFE! morning coffee trips to the cafe,
and afternoon ponderings about tv shows I do not watch,
and #fulltimejob snapchats of snack towers, #bestmanagerever,
and mysterious origami creatures, so smol,
and heart-fuzzy-warmth emails
and applying the “talk about it” method to all situations,
and early morning shower room convos — of families and broken biceps,
and making products better, but remembering the human person behind the email,
and one dilbert comic strip savored every morning, except Mondays, which have two,
and “medicinal moments by madison” — “…ALLITERATIONS ARE AWESOME,”
and “supporting” not “managing” which is yeah, corporatese, but still. inspiring.

all these things I will miss.
among other things.

yap yap.

the Monday blahs

I LIKE my job, I really do. If ya let me, I’ll gush on. And I LIKE my company. It’s an inspiring place. There are good things happening here. It’s easy to get sparkly-eyed about and at a place that seeks to make society better through the unlikeliest means of “Good,” ever. Cause the moneyz makes it hard to be ethical sometimes, you know?

Why is it, then, that I can’t shake this inexplicable feeling of uselessness as I sit and listen to the work chatter — discussing that “funny little issue” with the “blah-dy blah-dy app” that’s causing stakeholders to “blah blah-la” for the “blah-something program blah”?

Sometimes it all seems to insignificantly complicated and complicatedly insignificant. I know, I know, specialization is all in the details, but I guess I really am a broad-picture thinker. It’s hard for me not to put my discontentment frown on, eyes glazed over, all contemplative about The State of Modern Man And All when I hear conversations about the tiniest little detail about these outermost layers of the infinity of entanglement we have Civilizationed ourselves into. Out of?

And the sad, final punch is that I can’t even put these feelings to words, phrases, blog posts that make any sense at all.

—-ed. 11/17/14 12:20pm—-

Okay, but let’s set the record straight. All the blah blahs aside, I still am daily inspired by this place

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that celebrates National Talk Like a Pirate Day with a watermelon pirate ship at the coffee bar.
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with teammates that bring me assorted snacks from their Snack and Learns, cause they “didn’t know which one you liked”
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and days of post-Halloween candy showing up in the common area, of which I may or may not have stashed bags of sour patches, of which I may or may not be snacking RIGHT NOW. maybe. and peppers.
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with cupcake tantrums that are appeased by the department head with swift, post-department meeting deliveries to the pod
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and the tear-inducingly inspiring mission statement, standing proud and shiny at the entrance of Every Day and Normal.
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and work friends who are now also selfie friends. oooh la!

Praise God for jobs…for cars…for recovering from indigestion…and for all the other little, medium, big blessings of Life Right Now. Seriously.