Thursday, February 10, 2011

Perspective is the new black

So friends, what a week it's been!

Never have I ran a marathon, but in the last few days I feel a sense of exhaustion coupled with immense accomplishment, as if I'd successfully completed one. That being said, I've definitely hit moments along this "marathon" route similar to an actual runner -- where I've felt bursts of adrenaline, suffered crippling cramps, and had what feels like wayyyy too much time to think as I neared the finish line.

In just over 26 miles I believe one sees not only their surroundings change, but their perspective of their own situation grows a bit clearer. And, if you ask me, that prize beats a medal any day!

So, my marathon began ...

I returned to continue my Grand Jury service this week, which has turned out to be an experience I'll never forget. In the course of these 10 days of service, I've had the opportunity to see a cross-section of my community in the form of 23 randomly selected individuals -- who all turned out to be "cool kids" at their respective proverbial "lunch tables". I thought to myself -- I could really hang out with any one of these folks, even though our everyday lives would probably never present us the opportunity to meet and get to know one another as we have through our collective civic duty.

Anyhoo, life would have it that on break from learning the most I ever have about the judicial system and law enforcement I'd be the victim of a random crime. My wallet was stolen during a quick and jovial lunch with one of my new jury buddies. Go figure?!

Not the easiest afternoon -- in sum, I encountered sympathy, anxiety, exhaustion, joy, and (greatest of all) perspective in the course of the few hours following the "perp taking possession of my property" (as you can see my exposure to law enforcement through jury duty has given me license to use cool cop lingo, lol).

From filing a police report, to spending hours on the phone with my bank, I was forced to (like our metaphorical marathon runner) look at my surroundings and my personal situation with a critical eye. After all was said and done I forced a smile, but the marathon continued in my head.

It wasn't until I received a call later that evening from the grandmother of a very close friend, informing me that they'd had a death in the family, that I saw the finish line on the horizon. My heart grew heavy as my spirit became lighter. There I was mourning the "loss" of my personal effects, while someone I loved mourned much more.

At that moment, I wasn't slowing my stride as a smile of victory stretched across my face and a ribbon broke across my chest. Instead, I was reveling. Reveling in the joy and value of perspective.

Even in times of loss, there is the chance to find peace and joy. Abandoning my moment of pity for my material loss provided me the opportunity to avail myself to those close to me in their time of need. And though the circumstances were not cause for celebration, I was able to smile in appreciation of the blessing within the lesson :-)

In the days since, I've started each morning gratefully drinking this experience. Have you had your perspective today? 

Thanks for reading! God bless.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Urgency of Joy

Hello beautiful people,

It took a couple weeks to bring you my first official post. Not due to loss of enthusiasm, lack of effort, or New York busy-ness -- but instead, I now realize, I went through 2 weeks of preparation for this post (without even recognizing all the while).

I internalized my purpose in starting this blog and sat with it. And as I did, the world around me started to show me, in a series of very distinct and separate situations, that there is an urgency associated with joy -- one I've never given much thought to until recently. And that urgency was to be the focus of this first post.

Now, in lieu of being overly philosophical, I've chosen to try to make this as plain as possible to you. Because it really is a simple notion.

Our human need to seek and take advantage of joy is just as real and time-sensitive as needing to pee when we've ignored our bladder for hours, needing to find the perfect object immediately to scratch that unreachable spot between your shoulder blades (I rather prefer a comb or spatula), or needing to find your metrocard just as the bus pulls up (as if you didn't think you needed it while you waited at the stop for 5 minutes, lol). It's URGENT. But, in observation of my own life and those of others, I can clearly see now that -- unlike in the case of our nagging full bladders -- we almost choose to ignore joy's shrill cries for attention in our lives.

One of the instances that helped me better understand this occurred at work this week. Our offices moved to a new floor and when I returned Monday to a bustling new environment filled with co-workers struggling to make deadlines while attempting the satisfy their natural need to acclimate into unfamiliar surroundings, I was a bit thrown off. That was until, while unpacking my boxes, the company cable guy (always filled with genuine positive energy) popped his head in to check on my settling in. I returned his grin with an equally broad one of my own and was filled when he sat down and humbly shared how he finds great joy in his encounters with me -- simply because I offer him a pleasant smile and happy disposition with each random run-in. "Talking with you just picks me up," he said. "You never seem to run out of happiness."

Thankfully, I didn't pack my human ego for my office move (lol). Because in this moment my only response was "I have a source of joy that never runs out." I instantly put down whatever it was I was unloading from my boxes and engaged deeper with my friendly cable guy. He went on to share how (though we'd never discussed faith) he could tell I recognized and respected the wonders of God.

As we spoke, the move-in insanity around us became a dull murmur. Gone was the immediate need to finish proposals, schedule meetings, and worry about unhappy clients -- it was now replaced with the urgency of indulging in a simple moment of joy with another human being. Not because he was gonna hook me up with all the premium channels on my office TV, but instead because it represented an effortless high-point in both our days.

Wow, not rocket science, huh?

Joyous moments like these are like rats in the subway -- they are all around us but we struggle to ignore them because acknowledging them makes us uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable in being happy, but uncomfortable in radically stepping outside of the expectations of others and our environment.

I think it's high time to look at the rats :-)

God bless. Thanks for reading.