Sunday, May 3, 2009

I Am Woman Hear Me Bore

I was paid perhaps the greatest compliment of my life recently. I had just finished an exasperating two-day planning session. It was the kind of thing where you place yourself in a creative "think tank". My normal day to day life consists of using the logical side of my brain (mostly). I relish these opportunities to use my creative side, i.e., this blog. Yet, I don't think I fully realized the toll it takes on you to focus entirely on that lesser used portion of your brain.

This planning group consisted of a wide ranging demographic selected for either their location, their specialty or their tenure within my industry. They wanted opinions from the "seasoned", the experienced, the novices - east coast, west coast, middle America. No comment as to which specific sector I was selected....

It was equal parts exhilarating and exhausting. BUT...

In group dynamics, there is often the phenomenon of the person who doesn't know when to be silent and when to speak. Our group was dominated by a woman who insisted on speaking her mind, her life, her son, her husband, her work, her team members, her past employers, her current initiatives, her fingernail polish her perfect life.....

Not only was she asserting herself into every possible opening but she was doing it with her perfect little life. Antithesis of mine perhaps?

I was surrounded by allies. There were people in the room who knew me REALLY well and people who knew me through reputation. There were people I had never met but nevertheless we immediately attached to each other like kids ganging up in numbers to fight the bully on the playground.

By the end of the first day, people were kicking me under the table for not standing up to this bully. They had been watching me take notes and they were anxiously awaiting my moment to shut her down - to take control or at a minimum, to just get a word in. I could sense the expectation of others was like a beacon shining squarely upon my shoulders so I began to test the waters. Sticking just my big toe in - I immediately realized I would have to break one of my mother's quantum rules of "being a lady" when I spoke up and talked over her. In order to successfully accomplish this task, you have to speak louder and longer than your opponent. God, my poor mother. What would she think? This isn't just a toe - I'm in this up to my neck! Heaven help us mom, if you were alive, you would have clearly dove in to pull me out just like you did that time when I was seven and you thought I was drowning in the shallow water.

Yet...... I did it. I dove in and I spoke and the water was just as shallow as it was when I was 7 years old. I swam in that water and I had no fear. I was as comfortable in that water as a baby in her mothers womb.

When it came time to leave the next day, the CEO of the organization, walked me to the elevator. I didn't fuss about anything, no big deal, I was elated to have been there. He had no idea (or so I thought) about what I had perceived. He quietly pulled me aside and simply said, "Angela, some people talk a lot - and some people say a lot. You are someone who says a lot." Nuf said.

May you always choose your moments to speak. (Unless it's with your good girlfriends - then you can say anything!)

Turn, Turn, Turn

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

Stalking Sunsets - The Seasons Of My Life

There is something about watching the sun as it sets. It doesn't matter if you're viewing it on a mountaintop, over an ocean or from your back yard. Scratch that. It is monumentally better from a mountain top or over an ocean but hopefully you can work with me on this.

I have always been a night person. I'm sure there are people in this world who get equal enjoyment and meaning from a sunrise but I am not one of those people. Sunrises are beginnings - they represent something already begun. I prefer to look at the seasons of my life as a series of endings. Endings are not bad; after all, you can't steal second base with your foot planted firmly on first. One must end to begin.

As you watch the sun setting, or as my blog title suggests - God drawing the shade on another day - do you reflect on the peace and purpose you found in your day or do you silently lament another day gone without much accomplished? Do you whisper in your own ear with an uplifting, inspirational message or do you figuratively throw your hands in the air while realizing you blew it yet again?

If you do the later - then welcome to my blog of an imperfect life. As we journey together let us remember to laugh until we cry and love until we hurt. Lest we forget - the hurting and the crying are important. We must not dwell upon them or linger in them or wallow around comfortably. We must treat them like a favorite song - one we can play when needed.

I hope to explore all the sunsets of my life - whether it was the end of a day, the end of a love or the end of a season. The bible says, "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven...." (Eccl 3:1). I will print the entire passage in my next post. For now, suffice it to say I'm not sure if the seasons of my life were in line with what the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, intended when he wrote that scripture but somehow my seasons all seem to fit together. Luci Swindoll wrote, "Life is not some vague process of subtle, illogical patterns placed willy-nilly in our path for us to puzzle over. It's a composite of definitives: joys and sorrows, gains and losses, giving and keeping, laughing and grieving, loving and losing.....on and on until the last numbered day arrives."

Let us continue until our final sunset......