Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday, September 09, 2011Friday Five: Your Work Space

Revkjarla posted this for the FF:

I don't know about you, but I am a notoriously messy creative worker. My workspace at home, and at my office is always littered with books and papers and mail and pens and keys and mugs....and tschotske (momentos, weird things, etc.) I am looking right now at a pair of dice that someone gave me that have "God" on each side, so that anyway you roll 'em, you end up with God. Different, right?

So, this Friday Five is all about YOUR tschotske in your workplace. Describe five things in/on your workspace (however you define workspace--I tend to spill over onto bedside tables, end tables, coffee tables...create wherever I land) that are special to you! Bonus points for pictures!

My workspace is now my recliner. The office hasn’t been set up yet. We have only been here a year! And after a lifetime of ministry, I have so many tschotskes that I am not sure I have much of substance. I am waiting for my new parish to have a rummage sale! But now I am going to just name the momentoes of that life in ministry that I can see from my recliner.

1. A clay chalice that was given to me by a friend at my ordination. I don’t remember the name of the person who gave it to me but I can remember her face. (The problem of being over 65). It has traveled with me from coast to coast on several occasions and has arrived at retirement with many memories of intimate services at bedsides or in homes or camps. It reminds me of the gift of the Eucharist and the simplicity of the meal that Christ shared with his disciples.

2. A piece of stained glass: The first baptism I did was while I was a deacon. He owned a stained glass business in Ithaca. For my priestly ordination (just a few weeks later) he gave me a round piece of hanging glass that has the Alpha and Omega (which was on my invitations) on it. It is about pie-plate sized and sparkles in the sunlight. The night I was ordained I was called as rector of two little parishes along the Susquehanna River ( at the moment over-flowing its banks—please pray for the people of Bainbridge, Sydney and Afton, NY). In one church we had some reredos hiding a beautiful stained glass window in my new parish. I got the guys to move the reredos and found that there had been damage that had been repaired with clear glass to the window. I called my friend from Ithaca and he came and restored the window by matching the existing glass and firing painted glass to restore the 19th century glass.

3. A piece of calligraphy: When I left my parish in suburban Washington, DC, the parish presented me with a wonderful piece of calligraphy that says: “O Lord, Thou didst strike my heart with Thy word and I loved thee” by Michael Podesta. I am not especially a fan of St. Augustine, but it so encompasses how I understand how God has called me and nurtured me throughout the years that it has an important place in our home. It is a small piece but so right for the wall of an office. But right now I live in a rented home where we can’t put things on the wall. I have got to find a place where it can remind me each day of those who gave it, the One that inspired it and what I am continually called to.

4. A wooden box: In my first parish I had a wonderful octogenarian who was the matriarch of the parish. I was the first woman called to serve St. Pete’s and she didn’t know whether she was going to like me or not. My very first call in the parish, of course, was to her. We hit it off from the beginning. And two years later when she died, her niece brought me this simple wooden box that was hers. It is an antique now—but it will always be a remembrance of her ‘adoption’ and the success I had in that first parish. She taught me much, as did that whole parish. I often wonder if parishes understand how important they are for the new clergy that they open their hearts to.

5. A casserole dish: This is a 7qt big pot with a lid that my first sister-in-law gave me for Christmas. Carol died back in the late 90’s of cancer. She found this in a pottery shop here in Ft. Worth. She said that the potter sold it to her and asked her if she knew me. Joe and I had gone to school together from first grade. It has taken chili, soup, all kinds of covered dishes to church dinners for 25 years or so now. It is a beautiful pot. And just a few weeks ago I attended a meeting of my high school class and the Joe was there. That pot has ‘held us together’ all these years. And I will take it next spring as we celebrate our 50th class reunion.

Tschotskes are not so much stuff to dust; they are mementoes of your life. They are like the cross or rings or even sacraments laden with people and events that make our lives rich. Revkjarla, don’t worry about having a messy desk. Your desk reminds you of people and friends and your ability to be flexible when necessary.


revkjarla said...

I love all of your beautiful things...the box, the chalice, the quote from St. Augustine, the gorgeous casserole.

Beautiful play. Thank you!

Processing Counselor said...

I like your tschotskes. Pretty good Yiddish, too!

Dorcas said...

Loved this! I MUST get rid of stuff from my boxes marked "PASTOR STUFF" and I'm dreading it.