Work

Are you just a secretary? Mechanic? Waitress? Just anything? Those are such degrading statements and have, in the past, made my blood boil. For me the two I most often get are, “So you’re just a flight attendant,” often accompanied by its evil cousin, “Oh … so you not a real minister then, are you?”

Though it used to be a major issue for me, such comments no longer faze me. I take those remarks as examples of small, uneducated thinking, usually fueled by fear and judgment. I believe simple, ancient truths, made understandable by the New Thought movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries set the foundation for even more freedom for us in the 21st century as to how we define work and its value.

Too often our career choice, when it doesn’t fit societal norms, can be devalued by even our most well-meaning friends. Not very long ago men had life-long careers, often at the same company. Women stayed home for the most part to care for the home and family. Even after the major entry of females into the male-dominated world of business, society expected women to keep up the house and raise the kids – and looking good while doing it.

We each have to decide what our lives are going to look like. If living your bliss means maintaining multiple careers then you can’t question how it’s going to happen, criticize yourself when unimportant chores (like making the bed) don’t get done every day, or give credence to the person who complains about how you live your life when s/he is not happy with their own life and relationships. I do, however, strongly recommend you are consistent in balancing all areas of your life, meaning stick to juggling tennis balls (no more than three, preferably) as opposed to fire sticks or chain saws.

Most days I love what I’m doing, both in my ministry and with my life in general. It really sucks not to be in that space and try to stay happy – believe me I tried for years. But I’m here to tell you that if you can visualize the life you want you can have it.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

Expectations

Are all of your expectations met? I mean, all the time? Probably not. If your answer is “yes,” please call me? I want to interview you for next week’s blog!

Sometimes our expectations can have outcomes that are so far off base all we can do is laugh about it. That happened to me a number of years ago. I got into a conversation one day about my work as a minister with one of the staff at my gym. She lamented that she’d never been baptized. She told me she’d approached her church, but the classes they required were cost-prohibitive for her.

I asked her why she wanted to be baptized so late in life. Her answer was succinct and very sincere. It was then that I offered to perform the ceremony for her if she would like me to do so. She was ecstatic and went about planning her special day.

We set the date and she had professional invitations made up to send out to her friends and family. I received an engraved invitation to the event in the mail, which indicated it would be held at a club in the foothills. Wow, I thought, this is going to be quite the snazzy affair! I have to admit I wondered how church baptism classes could be too expensive when she was able to maintain a membership in a private club, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

I showed up at the address on the invitation. I dressed in a freshly-starched, white shirt (with French cuffs, thank you very much), tie and my best suit. I brought along my formal minister’s robe and ordination stole, as well as a crystal bowl for the baptismal water and a white rose bud to be used in the ceremony.

My mouth dropped as I drove up to the “club.” Perhaps the dirt road and the muddy parking lot should have clued me in, but I ignored those signs, along with all the motorcycles parked next to the building. I have to say that it was the first and only time I’d been to a biker bar. For those of you who know me I’m sure you’re getting a visual of the expression on my face, and you’d be quite accurate in your depiction.

Think VFW, Moose Lodge or similar, but for a Harley gang, complete with sawdust-covered, wood plank floors, beer and booze of all kinds (I couldn’t find one glass of Shiraz in the entire place and believe me I looked), and a stage that I can only imagine might double for pole dancing on the nights when a baptism wasn’t scheduled.

I’d never officiated for an event at which the entire group was well-on-their-way to a roaring hangover. The ceremony went off without a hitch until I dipped the white rose bud in the baptismal water and lifted it to the woman’s forehead. It was then that the Star Trek pinball machine in the corner of the bar decided to announce its presence to one and all ... really, really loudly.

In spite of the fact that my “expectations” of the baptism were far from met, the truth is this woman had a sizable group of friends who loved and cared about her to show up for an event many of them had never before attended. Most didn’t understand her need, but they honored her with their presence and support.

Think about expectations you have for tomorrow, or perhaps a special event in your own future. What are you going to do if, after all your careful planning, things don’t turn out as you’ve outlined? Will you be totally upset, pout or throw a tantrum?cab_st

I’ve told many brides over the years that their wedding day may not go exactly as they expect, but it will still be perfect no matter what. Life is a lot like that if we just let it. Enjoy and plan for your future with great expectations and hope. And, when the time comes, go with the flow. Do not allow your “expectations” to get in the way of enjoying the moment for what it is … Star Trek pinball machines and all!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

Perspective

Were you happy to see 2014 end or was it so terrific you just wanted to see it continue? Either way, it’s over and we have already begun 2015. What will the New Year hold for you?

Happy-New-Year-Images-For-Facebook-HDThe answer to that question may surprise you depending on who you ask. That brings me to our topic, Perspective. Have you ever noticed how the media often reports the news and then backs up the story with a poll or survey? No matter how outrageous the material is that is being reported we can be lulled into believing what is televised or what we read just by being told it was backed up by one of those means, or by “research.” Really?

I recently saw a cartoon indicating that four out of five Christian divorcees oppose same-sex marriage because it destroys the sanctity of the marital arrangement. It’s that kind of statistic that, if read quickly, reflects something very different than the writer intended. But that’s exactly what statistics, polls and surveys do: Sway us in one way or the other depending on the intent. More often than not the intent is a marketing ploy to convince us to buy a product, or one political group shoring up its battle against its opponent.

Have you heard the predictions about 2015? They’re quite varied, aren’t they? We can believe statistics that prove we are better off now than we were eight years ago, or we can consider other reports that maintain we are nearer the end of our society than ever before. Which will you believe?

Before you answer I need to tell you that’s a trick question. It’s not about which media source, political party or social agenda we are going to use to predict our year. How 2015 will be for us is almost entirely going to be what we decide it will be. Do you think that’s too simplistic? It’s not.

Take for example a rainy day. Some people will say it’s going to be an awful day. Rain doesn’t make a day awful. It makes the day wet. We decide whether or not that is awful or not. In other words, we choose our attitude. It’s also our personal choice to use polls, surveys, statistics and the opinions of others to color our perception of our own lives.

So what will 2015 bring for you? Now is an excellent time to decide that for yourself, if you haven’t already done so. We are never victims without our consent. We can choose our path and future, or we can sit back and let life happen to us. But, either way, it’s a choice.

Which path will you choose?

Happy New Year!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry