presence and being


Church went well yesterday despite the slightly elevated anxiety levels in leaders and people. Anxiety always seems to go up in churches I work at during the high holy days. This presents a challenge for leaders to stay as non-anxious as they can. I felt like I did a pretty good job at this, but of course I’m not a primary leader just one who is working with music people… which can be a lot like herding cats.

Anyway, I felt pretty good about how I handled myself. In system thinking one can sort of see one’s life as intersecting circles: work, church, nuclear family, family of origin just to name a few. I was differentiated pretty well in my church/work circle yesterday. Eileen and I seemed to be doing pretty well as a couple. I shouldn’t have been surprised then when my Mom suddenly refused to go to her doctor’s appointment today.

But I was. I’m not proud to say that I reacted to her in an angry way. She seemed ┬áto silently acquiesce in the face of my asking her what in the world she meant by this. I’m expecting her to be ready to go this afternoon when Eileen and I stop by to pick her up.

Nevertheless this felt like a “fail” for me.

It reminded me that of Friedman’s maxim about systems: “When things are going well, watch out.” I wish that I had been able to maintain the calm I managed all morning during the Palm Sunday service.

The morning at church went so well that I mentioned to Eileen that I had recently read the quote from the movie, “Little Big Man,” “Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t” or something like that. I said that the “magic” had worked that morning. Despite some interesting difficulties I managed to help the choir sound good on the anthem.

However, in the afternoon in my Mom’s apartment at the nursing home, the “magic” didn’t work. Dang.

I reread this in Friedman this morning and take it to heart.

The way out [of emotional and conceptual ruts] requires shifting our orientation to the way we think about relationships from one that focuses on techniques that motivate others to one that focuses on [our own] presence and being.

Why Reconstruction Matters –

Interesting use of history to understand the present. I always like that stuff!

John Renbourn, 70, Eclectic Guitarist Who Founded the Pentangle, Dies – NYTime

“Another man done gone.”

4 thoughts on “presence and being

  1. That last quote here is great for thinking about with kids, and not just choir members…
    Think I need to copy it out and post it in the kitchen. Or maybe every room of the house.

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