Friday, May 25, 2007

A Day in the Life of a Church Secretary

This whole series of events takes place on Tuesday, May 22.

I was on the way to the elementary school to drop off the kids when Kalista reminded me that I was supposed to bring bowls for the end of the year ice cream party. I tried to figure out if it would be best to turn around right then or drop them off first then bring the bowls to the school. A quick look at the clock and I decided I didn’t have enough time to turn around without making the kids tardy once again. So we get to the elementary and I pull in to the parking lot and wait for my kids to make their way across the little road. Then I hurriedly BUT cautiously try to make it back to my house to get those bowls. I very rarely contribute to any school functions because of my work schedule so taking those bowls was very significant to me and I felt a tremendous amount of pride in being responsible for supplying her class with the bowls. A little dramatic, yes; but, hey, it’s me. Anyway, so I race back up to the school but being very careful not to go over 40 mph because of our Nazi cops in Clyde. I seriously feel like I am saving the day at the ice cream party when my little dream bubble is punctured. Waiting in the lobby are several women carrying cakes and assorted goodies for the party. These are no ordinary cakes either. Oh, no, they couldn’t be regular rectangle vanilla/chocolate cakes. There was a cake in the shape of a basketball (an actual sphere, people!) with m&m’s to mark the lines. There was a castle cake complete with flowing flags and a princess on top waving a handkerchief to a prince on mini-steed at the bottom. There was a cake made into some kind of mountain with dirt bikes and such things. There was one that I couldn’t quite figure out though. I don’t know if it was some kind of abstract art cake or if it just got messed up somehow. So there I was staring at these SuperMoms holding my rinky-dinky 50 count bag of Styrofoam bowls… Can someone say Inferiority Complex???

After I leave there, I try drive to work as fast as humanly possible, without going over 40 mph, since it was already 8:15 and I am supposed to open the office at 8:00. As soon as I get into the office, the phone starts ringing nonstop. There was a funeral scheduled at 1:30 pm and everyone is trying to get the details straight and I am trying to get my stuff together as well. This week was already going to be a major hassle because the pastor is going to be out all next week so I needed to have two weeks’ worth of bulletins, monthly newsletter, and payroll completed by Thursday so he could proof and approve it. I didn’t get ANYTHING done on Monday because I was pretty much worthless after the BFW and I was hobbling around since my legs were still hurting.

Well, at about 10 o’clock two members of the church come in. They are a super-sweet couple who have been married for over 50 years. Every time they come in, they tell me all kinds of stories of their travels. They have been all over the world and I love to hear about it all. So, were sitting there and their telling me about the German language when the conversation kind of dwindles. I start telling them about how much I love all this rainy weather and how cool it’s been because I don’t really like hot weather when the husband says, “Well, you should be used to hot weather. Aren’t you Mexican? Don’t Mexicans work outside all the time?” I didn’t even get what he was saying at first. I was just in shock. First, I have never done one single day of outside work ever in my whole entire life. Second, I’m not really all that Mexican. I certainly don’t look it and I don’t know how to speak Spanish. I just kind of laughed it off with him but I was still amazed that people would say that kind of stuff. Crazy.

At 11:30, one of the guys from our accounting firm had to come pick up our deposit from Sunday. Now, this man is very much the typical accounting guy. He is always very clean, every hair in place, his clothes are perfectly ironed, and starched. He is just very proper and precise. When he walked in the door, the very first thing I noticed was that his zipper was wide open and his shirt was coming out. I had no idea what to say! I wanted to tell him but I just knew he would be so humiliated and I didn’t want to deal with that whole awkwardness afterwards. So, I was too chicken to say anything and I let him walk out with it still open.

About this time, all the people for the funeral were showing up. I left for lunch and hoped my afternoon would be less hectic. When I came back, things at the office were even crazier. There were people bringing flowers, food, and a dead body. There were people in the Sanctuary who were practicing their songs for the funeral and then broke out in some kind of 50’s songs for the heck of it. Then an older lady (who works for the funeral home) fell off the porch that leads into the foyer. It wasn’t a very lady like fall either. I was sitting in my office looking out the window watching everyone outside when she just spontaneously fell, and she fell hard. I could actually hear it inside the office. When she got up, I could see she was bleeding from her hands and shins. The thing she was most upset about was her pantyhose because she only had blue spare pantyhose and she was wearing black. She also said she didn’t want to bleed in front of people at the funeral, said it was in bad taste… What??? Anyway, so the funeral starts promptly at 1:30 and because the mics in the Sanctuary are connected to a speaker in my off, I can hear everything that is going on in there. When people called the office, they got to hear the eulogy as well. For some unknown reason, “they” decided to park the body right in the foyer, which happens to block me in my office. Then suddenly at 1:58, I remember that my kids had an early release day at school that day. The reason I remembered this? I saw them walking up the sidewalk. I began panicking about how I am going to get them into the office without disturbing the funeral and without traumatizing them either. I ran out there to meet them at the door and quickly usher them into my office. They were really confused and Kalista was asking questions. She’s only been to one funeral and that was when she was 3, so she doesn’t remember. The funeral ends, but people are milling about and the body stays right in front of my door. I was getting seriously creeped out. Someone actually invited me to go look at it. I politely declined, while inside I was making barfing noises. Finally, after what seemed an insurmountable time, they wheeled the body out.

After that, things calmed down until 4:00. I thought I was going to make it the rest of the day without any more incidents, but no. A parishioner came in to talk to me about why we didn’t have a graduation celebration for two boys who graduated from college last week when we celebrated for two other boys who graduated from high school. I tried to explain to her that we had no notification of their graduation and those boys don’t even attend our church. It was futile though, so I just said I would tell the pastor about it. Now, normally, this woman is dressed very nicely. She’s the one who complained because our new youth director didn’t dress nice enough. She also told me that it bothered her that women wear anything but dresses to church. So I was kind of surprised when she walked into the office wearing sweatpants and a shirt with holes in it. She was scratching her leg a lot so I asked if she had mosquito bites like everyone else right now. She said no, that she had sores on her legs that were very itchy and then proceeded to lift her 84-year-old leg onto my desk and show me said sores on a very up-close level. She said she had them all over her legs. I guess in demonstration of just how itchy they were, she scratched one until it began to bleed. Nice. Then while motioning around her nether regions, she told me that she had several “there.” Also, in another demonstration, she showed a way she came up with being able to scratch without anyone really noticing. Extra nice. The whole time, I was thinking “What kind of hell am I in today??” It’s like I was stuck in some kind of Twilight Zone episode.

Thankfully, the bells rang for five o’clock shortly after that and I was able to go home to the security of my home.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

T-Minus 26 Hours

Okay, guys. Please please please pray for me. I am becoming increasingly more and more nervous about standing up in front of everyone and talking about my personal junk.

On another note, I had a personal breakthrough in my faith yesterday. I have a habit of calling someone, anyone to pray for me or with me whenever I come into a stressful situation. The first thing I do is pick up the phone to talk it out. Well yesterday I got into another argument with my kids' father. I was getting very angry, yelling at him, and then just hung up on him. After getting off the phone, I was crying, asking for God to somehow break Marcos' legs and heal my heartache. Then I started calling some of my friends to ask for advice and prayer. No one answered. Seriously, I called like 6 people but no one answered the phone. During all this, my emotions were a mess! I was feeling sorry for myself, angry at me and at Marcos, and just unstable. So, after the 6th person didn't answer, I finally yelled, "Fine!! I'll just do it myself!" I prayed about what the best thing would be to do and for me to have a listening ear.

Guess what?
I heard.

I called him back and calmly told him that I was sorry for yelling and cussing, that we needed to just talk like rational adults instead of teenagers, and I wanted to explain to him why I was getting so upset. After that, the conversation was so much easier and I had such peace in my heart. He even opened up to me some.

I feel so sorry for my mother. If I am giving God such a hard time, can you imagine what it was like for her???

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hope, Dreams, and Everything in Between

I have been hearing a lot of talk about people hoping, dreaming, and believing in things to come. When I would hear others talk about having those dreams for the future, I realized that I had no dreams. I didn’t dream of someday being rich, or being the best at something, or even for something greater than where I am at now. I also realized that I believed a lie that I didn’t even know I believed: That things of greatness and abundance were not for me. At first I didn’t even know what I could possibly hope or dream for. I was thinking that there was nothing that could be done about my life and the way it is. There I was again limiting God and what He could do by putting my limits on Him. What the heck is wrong with me? I mean, come on! If He could split the Red Sea, then He could surely produce a few measly requests of mine! So here is my list of things I am believing for. Enjoy!

--Confidence in myself. I will be confident in my own skin and be strong in situations where I usually just fold into a crumpled mess.
--A job that is different than this one. There are things about this one that are better suited for someone with a different personality type. But I only want to leave this job if it is the Lord’s will. If a new job isn’t His will, then I want to be equipped with new “tools” to handle situations.
--A computer for my home. Maybe a laptop. I don’t know.
--A solution for my daycare problem for my kids for during the summer where I don’t feel guilty about pawning them off on other people.
--Total and complete healing over my entire body. I am sick and tired of dealing with these stupid female troubles.
--A serious situation to arise where I will have cause to shave my legs….
--Clean, clear, blemish free skin PERMANENTLY
--A supernaturally increased metabolism
--Less hair where I don’t want it and more where I do
--A new home. I need it to be bigger, better air conditioned, cheaper, and windows able to be opened so my sister can live with me
--Child support!!!!!!

Some of it seems kinda silly, but I am totally claiming it. Every night and morning I am going to pray these things into existence. Just like Rachel, I will be keeping track of each prayer answered.