My friend Fran referenced this quote on Facebook:
What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.
I immediately saw in this how I relate to my job. I have certain expectations about how things should be at work. Those expectations are not met. I am, therefore, unhappy.
I validated this with my spiritual director. She added that it is a lot of work to keep holding up an image of how things “should” be and comparing that to how things are. Certainly keeping this in mind does not remove all stress from work, but it helps.
Of course there are times when we should have a picture in our head of how it is supposed to be. Like when there is social injustice and inequality that needs to be fixed. But in the case of my job not having expectations means not being unhappy because expectations are not met.
If you saw my quote from Susan Russell last week on the war against women and appreciated the truth she was conveying, you’ll want to view this. The words were extracted from this sermon, which she delivered on 19 February. Don’t be fooled by the first six and a half minutes. She really shifts gears at right about 6:30. She confronts the reality, but she leaves us with hope.
I had time for the Ash Wednesday service blocked off on my work calendar so I could get away and participate. Nonetheless, I was considering blowing it off. After all, it’s not the most uplifting service of the year. But Terry had a trade show she needed to be at, so I wouldn’t be able to have lunch with her. Given that, no reason not to go.
Wednesday morning I read the Forward Day-by-Day meditation, which made the point that Ash Wednesday was important. It made me think of my first Last Sunday after Epiphany service at All Saints’, where my first Episcopal rector, Margaret, said exactly that. In fact, she said that if you can’t make it to Ash Wednesday services here, please attend a service where you can. That had an impact on me, and has stuck with me since. I’ve attended Ash Wednesday services most years since then. As I did last Wednesday.
The service was lightly attended. There were probably ten adults and some kids. It was a very plain service, with no music. But I’m glad I was there. Fr. Phil pointed out that the other part of “You are dust and to dust you will return” is “You are spirit, and spirit you will always be.”
It was a good start to my Lenten journey.
The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, setting by Duruflé.
I’ve been listening to NPR more of late than I have for some time. This is exactly how I feel. Thanks to Jane Redmont.
May your Lent be gentle yet meaningful.