Advantages of being an office assistant: the adrenaline rush that comes with helping someone complete complicated or easier projects, a steady paycheck, introductions to plenty of computer software and technological applications, scores of cheerful yet brief interactions, and nourishing a penchant for organization. The disadvantages: office monotony, being responsible even when you aren’t responsible, scores of frustrated yet misdirected interactions, and the constant shifting of to-do-lists. The past four years empowered me to juggle these things, and to continue practicing contentment in the role I’ve been given. Learning the difference between a job assignment and identity sounds easy, but it hasn’t been. “You took a French class just for fun? With no intent on completing a degree around it?” “What do you plan on doing for your career?” “If you had just gone to grad school after senior year…”
Guilty as charged for attaching price tags to many things, including my worth as a worker, I used to become sick with occupational plans. “If I just get this position, or learn this skill, I’ll be a better person with more money.” Tim Keller and Katherine Leary Alsdorf’s “Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work” shoved reconsideration in my face for some of these thought processes. Could it be that work is a reflection of the created order, made to be exciting but fallen in its frustrations, and that the gospel should make its followers do the best possible work because their life is vibrant in so many ways? Yes. No, I can’t yet compose poems and get paid several hundred dollars a week for them, but I can write to encourage whomever is out there and feel my heart surge accordingly because words are arranged with love. No, I may not increase our household income by stumbling over chocolate candy for the etsy shop. But the feeling I get when melting chocolate and piping it full of all kinds of random food can’t be measured by money. If I choose to stay at home with children in the future, I won’t beat myself up because I’m not “contributing” to the family. I’ll do my absolute best to make sure those kids are healthy, happy, loving, and beautiful reflections of the Lord.
In the midst of mundane work, simple things become very intoxicating. When my husband and I went to Charleston to enjoy our honeymoon, one of my favorite characteristics about the bungalow where we stayed was the bookcase full of such simple pleasures. Following are some original poems and a picture on these things: a weekend hip-hop concert, a shower, and a blissful vacation moment. Adieu, and let’s talk about love in February! 🙂
“At The Urban Show”
My hips just surpassed the hook
needling through bass and horns,
they slid down to humid ankle level
like anxious children on a playground
and this satin dress
is the sand that they tumbled into—
was lavender an elegant invitation
or does it extend this non-muscle
since the man behind is watching—
Back to the luscious cut of song
tapping out my lungs,
notifying my body that instruments
and emotions are interchangeable
enough to dwindle makeshift
lamps into actual light.
He holds his microphone and croons
so loudly it becomes silent,
dark eyes thrilling our audience
until applause gives out
and we turn instead to gyration
guided by rum and coke.
Wet shine films over my stretched feet,
arching between tile and a damp towel
to concoct evening bliss,
the melodies of heat and water that splattered.
The piping liquid fell to puddle,
deflowered spray into stagnancy
recommended by the tub drain,
six more minutes wished for.
A new creature is floating through mirrored mist,
lavishing her limbs with pressure
to push away dirty grips,
crumbling soil for heart-shaped soaps.
Rawness and moisture nicely blends,
legs and arms once in limbo
unlocked by scorching cleanse and lotion,
a lather dressed in vanilla orchids.
Sitting in this bathroom are roses,
washcloths, and trash.