Thursday, January 31, 2013

The View From Reception

I know that I haven't written a blog post in quite a while. I fully intended to finish the 5 that I half wrote during the Fall Semester, but life got in the way. I had a wonderful first semester. There were definitely some ups [meeting new friends, taking classes that are completely new to me & being chosen by my class as a Deacon] & downs [navigating the balance between a social life, school & 2 jobs]. But this has been an incredible growing and learning experience for me as I continue to discern God's call for me. Thank you so much for your support during my YAV year & my first year of seminary. I am going to try and make more time in my schedule to blog during the future months. 

I have a lot of things I should be doing right now. I have a devotion due at the end of the day today that is barely written. I have a Candidate Statement to write for my University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration application. I should be reviewing Hebrew vocab so I don't forget all of it. Yet, I feel compelled to write a blog post. Because, I really do witness the most incredible things working at the reception desk at McCormick.

Last semester one of our professors left her purse at the Starbucks down the street from the school. Not her wallet, her entire purse. I guess she put it down & forgot it? That detail isn't really important. In the afternoon, someone from Starbucks came by and asked to see speak with her. She didn't even realize that her purse was missing until I called her to come down to the lobby. Nothing was missing from her purse or wallet and the man, who turned out to be the owner of this particular franchise, refused to take a tip. He simply stated that he was doing the right thing.

A few minutes ago, a man came running in through the front doors. I thought maybe he was late for a meeting and needed a parking pass. Instead he told me that one of the cars in the lot had it's lights on. He not only went up to the 3rd floor to tell the Doctoral students, but he came back down with the student's keys to turn off the lights. He then brought the keys back to the classroom and left. I haven't seen an act of kindness like that in a long time.

Earlier this morning, I got a phone call from an alum of McCormick. We are having a book discussion on Monday based on Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. This man was calling to see if we were going to be selling copies of the book at the event. Instead of just letting me transfer him to the appropriate person, he insisted that I take down his information, find out, and call him back. Normally I do everything I can in these situations to not take messages. I don't see most faculty or staff on a regular basis, and I don't want the messages to get lost. Normally I end up just emailing them. However, on this particular occasion, I agreed. When I found the answer to his question & called him back, he then proceeded to ask me how much it was at Barnes & Noble. My frustration level with this conversation was through the roof at this point. I'm not his personal secretary. Why can't he just look it up himself? Then he had me looking at the closest locations to where he lives. This phone conversation was getting ridiculous. I could have very easily been rude to him on the phone or just passed the message along to someone else. But that's not what happened. Instead, I made a new friend and we are going to meet on Monday to discuss the book. During this ridiculous phone conversation, I learned where he was from, the story behind his name, the fact that he is disabled, and much more. As I was trying my hardest to end the conversation before he talked to me into buying it for him and bringing it to his house, I realized something. God was working though me.

On the very last day of finals for the Fall Semester, I was working & trying to finish my paper for History. Of course, I had procrastinated and assumed that I would be able to devote time while working at the desk. What I didn't know was that the Staff Christmas Party was also the same day, taking place (for some unknown reason) in the lobby. So there was to be a party happening 5 feet from me while I tried to finish my research paper on The Acts of Paul and Thecla. I was not a happy camper. Someone that I work with noticed that I was upset. She found another student worker who was done with finals to cover the desk, while I moved to a quieter area of the building.

These events are not scarce at McCormick, and that is one of the reasons I love it here so much! Everyone that is a part of the greater McCormick community is devoted to helping others. The level of competition that is so rampant in other parts of the world seems to be absent. Professors understand that life happens (mostly) outside the classroom. Students are not competing against each other for the top of the class. Ruthlessness is not a virtue here.

Unfortunately every day is not like this. I have days when no matter what happens, I can't seem to find God at work. I have times when my classmates frustrate me & I wonder why I am here. I have days when everyone who calls the McCormick phone is rude and demanding. But today is not one of those days. And I hope that today is not one of those days for you either. Sometimes it takes a little work, but I hope that you can find God working somewhere in your home, school, workplace or community today. 

1 comment:

  1. Every day is one of those days for me. But I think think you're the greatest!


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