Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Only Constant Is Change

Years ago, I worked at the Internal Revenue Service Center in Fresno, CA. There I heard from several people a phrase that I have found true of life, "The only thing that doesn't change here is change." Life is one change after another, though few people recognize that or want to recognize it. When a new IPhone comes out, people want it for the new technology and capabilities, but when someone challenge them to allow their faith or their life outlook to change to also take advantage of new information, new insights, new realities - Whoa, there! Pastor, you done stop preachin' and started meddlin'! Yes, indeed, we want the latest appliances, the newest model of car, but don't you dare challenge us to move away from positions that cannot be support by anything but blind belief and emotional trauma!!

I've been a janitor, a security guard, a groundsman, a tutor, an assistant manager in a restaurant, a pastor, a laborer, a tile-layer's assistant; I've worked at grain elevators, carpet cleaning, wine-tasting rooms, probably some I've forgotten - the lesson out of these? That life has so much more than we can imagine, IF we are willing to embrace change as part of our life experience. And when we do, we find some amazing similarities to people we often look up to - for instance, the disciples of Jesus were small businessmen locked in the struggle to make enough to pay tax bills that make ours look a pittance. When they listened to the challenging insights of this itinerant preacher, they heard something that stirred their hearts and asked them for dangerous change. They embraced that and found not only fulfillment, but also rebuke when they wanted to fall back on those "traditional" values they had learned from their social circle. They learned that one has to trust the maker of life, and live life fully, engaged, empowered and compassionately - then one finds true fulfillment, though riches as the world counts them may not be part of that fulfillment.

Life is change, or you would still be that vulnerable, dependent baby that would then be undeveloped potential. You learned to crawl, then walk, then run, then ride a bike, then drive a car or perhaps a motorcycle or fly a plane - CHANGE! You learned to feed yourself, to appreciate more than mother's milk, and found favorite foods that changed through life - CHANGE! You learned to speak in words, you learned new vocabulary, you learned how to construct your communication, to write your communication - CHANGE! You found someone special in your life - family, friends, lovers, spouses - each a relationship that demanded CHANGE!

So indeed permanence is impermanent, the unchanging quality of life is change. Enjoy the variety of life, and learn to appreciate the wonder of change, even when that change is to learn that family or cultural biases are dead wrong and need to be lost! That person in front of you is another person, not a black, a wetback, a chink or nip, not a kraut or a spic, not a queer or geek - A PERSON, MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD, AS CHANGEABLE AND CHANGING AS YOU, AND AS IN NEED OF REAL PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS in a life that is full of change and challenge.

Think about it! Peace!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Trust the Force, Luke!

Well, maybe my name isn't Luke, and maybe the guy at Noritsu wasn't the force, but I sure learned to trust that helpline yesterday! They put those techs there for a reason! I was working along doing my job as a photo tech when the paper processor suddenly said, "PAPER JAM!" I did all the things they taught me, NO GOOD! I called one of the techs that trained me, NO GOOD! Finally, and finally for the last time, I called the hotline. The tech walked me through all I had done, and calmly helped me hold it together. When all had been checked, he said, "Well, let's try to clear the error now." I did, and the machine started to work again - as we waited, I said, "If this works, BLESS YOU!" He laughed, and assured me they would be there if we had another issue!

So today I get the spiral bound book for us to chart problems, including logging in yesterday's adventure, and we continue the adventure. So when you need a tech line - trust them, though sometimes they won't have the answers.

Another lesson learned! Life is one big lesson, don't you know.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Almost there, almost there

That line from Star Wars IV seems particularly appropriate as I move toward the opening of the new Walgreen's store. I worked a lot ( a lot!) over the last two days. Tomorrow I will have a mandatory meeting to attend, but I'm off - and I intend to take it easy! I'm finding out that when you are willing to step in where and when you are needed, respect comes readily from all one's co-workers, even to joking with you about sloughing off!

I've earned the respect of the district team, the respect of my co-workers at the store, and the respect of my supervisory crew. Now I need to translate that to the relationship with our customers. You see Walgreen's hold firmly that customer service is job number one. We are to make sure the phone is answered by the third ring, stop what you are doing and help the customer in the aisle with you, and do all you can to solve a person's concern. We've joked that with all the stocking we have been doing, we should be able to walk to nearly any item in the store upon request!

Respect, that which is becoming a scarce commodity in our time. One is too busy, too focused on "me" to note that someone around us might need some help. One doesn't want to be involved with the difficulties of those others. Yet -

My beloved and I have found that there are always people with the need for a listening ear, respect for that other as a person, and a willingness to put ourselves out a bit to help. That has proven to be a winning combination in being able to help others.

Think about it!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Joy a Baby Brings

Have you noticed that when someone brings a baby into the room, smiles spread in a slow wave across the room, and people feel a need to come over to admire and coo at the wee one? Such a simple part of life, yet such a powerful motivation for joy and smiles - the promise that life can be better, that there is hope and a future filled with opportunities.

Our first grandson got his first experience of the Pacific while his parents are visiting family in California. I've gotten a couple of notes about how much they are enjoying the visit and particularly Justin - the wee one does have a way of brightening the room!

So the next time you are feeling tense, unhappy, down - go find a baby and you will be surprised how much brighter life looks!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hard Work

I'm learning that setting up a new store isn't a lot of fun - it's a lot of hard work! There are shelves to set and prep. There is merchandise to unload from trucks and move into the store and the stock room. There are repacks of items sent over as overstocks from other stores to be dealt with. There are new co-workers to get to know, adjust to, and learn how to work with. There are early hours, long hours, few breaks and aching joints.

Yet I've learned that hard work earns respect and appreciation. The younger set may tease a bit, but they also know who will help them get things taken care of - a plus when they will be helping you make your job work.

So three days of preparations at our new Walgreens takes us to the point we were able to leave early and get some much needed rest. But it also got us notice that we are to be there Monday morning bright and early to unload another truck with more fixtures, and probably more merchandise to put away.

But we are starting to look like a store!! So we will work on and provide product, customer service and friendliness for the citizens of the area we serve.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Follow Directions

Well, I learned that lesson we all should know from all the times its shared! Follow directions!!

We bought some bookcases from Walmart, and I started putting them together today. I took out the directions and scanned them as I started putting pieces together - wrong! I finally ran up the white flag on the first one. Then I took the directions out, laid out the pieces and carefully followed the directions one step at a time.

Shock! It worked! 5 times it worked, then I used that knowledge to go back, deconstruct and then construct that first bookcase.

My loving wife pointed out that I should have followed the directions from the start, and she's right - it would have sped things along and maybe saved my 60 year old knees! Well, hopefully I learned the lesson this time!


Excitement Not Wanted

Yesterday held a bit of excitement neither my wife nor I, nor any others, wanted!

A wildfire began very near our apartment complex and blackened most of the hillside just west of us. Because of our asthma, we headed up the mountain to my daughter's and spent the night there. Fortunately the fire was declared out last night, so we will attempt to return.

I say attempt because if the smoke smell is very bad, I'll send my wife back up the mountain while I take care of the new bookcases we bought yesterday. Those I made many years ago are simply too big to move in. The new ones need to be assembled and filled. The old will eventually come up the mountain to my daughter's house.

I am excited because the store where I will be working is starting to get enough equipment in it to look like a store about to open rather than one that closed. I'll start working there on Friday, continuing the set up. We will have an open house the day before we open.

The life lessons in this tale? Simply that we need to be able to adapt to the situation - as in our response to the wildfire; we need to remember that our rubber-necking can cause major difficulties to those who need to get away from danger as well as hindering those trying to help those in need; and that there is excitement and joy even in situations that require us to work - if we are willing to look for it, accept it, and be honest with ourselves. There can also be disappointments when information shared proves woefully inadequate or incorrect, but life goes on and so should we.


Monday, August 4, 2008


And thus begins a new blog. Why you ask? Because the previous blog's materials were being used in an understandable but inappropriate way. For that reason, we begin again. With a new name, and a new site. Keep watching while I share the lessons of transition and life.