Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I work in the reception area lobby.

My workspace looks out towards the entry door. To the left and to the right of my space are two long hallways that lead down to the offices. Just above my work area, above the desk level, are large, inviting, open window-like spaces on either side. Behind me is the entry/exit from my work area into the office work room, with the copier, postage machine and my friend, Legion.

Basically, I have no walls in my space, except for the building pillars at the four corners to hold up the second floor. Working in a fishbowl like this, I am learning something about myself:

I'm visible from all sides but I only have eyes in front. This means that my head is constantly turning to see who is coming in the door, which employee is standing on the side by the newspaper talking to me about the daily news, or listening for cries for help from the fabulous but complicated Xerox machine we just received. I'm learning about myself that I spend energy tracking the origin of noises.

This also means that when I am looking one way, someone can approach from the other. This is a bit unnerving, to me. I am taking the time to explain to each person to please not approach me from "the back" but it sounds so petty. I'm learning about myself that alas, I only have eyes in front. When others surprise me, I need to pause and take a breath. It's not their fault I'm a bit edgy.

This also means that anyone can see me when I am on line looking up something personal. Or they walk by when I am putting on my lipstick, or blowing my nose, or checking my cell phone text messages. I'm learning about myself to be more public about personal stuff and to keep the really personal stuff for some other time.

The (not "my") space is public-use. I have exactly one drawer to call "mine" since all the office supplies really belong to everyone in the agency. What's mine is yours! So why does it irritate me when they walk into the (not "my") work space (usually from behind me), reach in the (not "my") top drawer and pull out a pen? I'm praying about this; it's all God's stuff anyway so why do I feel a need to claim it as mine? I'm learning about my lack of capacity to let stuff go.

I'm learning about grace. I'm learning about saying what I need to others, before they become a thorn in my side. I'm learning about humility. I am praying to be respectful.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:1-4

1 comment:

  1. I reminded of Jerry, who turned around at the drop of a pin to see what was happening. He was on my left. On my right, I'm also reminded of one who never turned around even during a quarrel unless expressly asked to ("*wink"). Two very different approaches to shared work space. What will your approach look like?