WOW! It has been quite a week here in Kansas City. One of my best friends moved to her first church job this week (good luck but I am going to miss the convenience of seeing you!), my mom was in town for a long weekend visit, and yesterday we had a group of 250 volunteers working on our construction sites at Habitat KC. I'm exhausted and can't wait for today to be done so I can just chill and let my brain and body take a breather! On the other hand, each of these events are very positive things and while I wish they could have been spaced out a little differently, it seems to just reinforce to me that there are wonderful things happening around us all the time if we choose to see them that way.
My friend moving away could be a sad thing if I focused on the fact that I won't be seeing her as often anymore ("Mandy Monday" will just have to occur less frequently with a long drive), but when I think about the fact that she is doing what she has been called to do and helping a new community of people live up to their calls as well, I can't help but be impressed, hopeful and encouraging.
My mom coming to visit could have been really stressful if I worried about the house being in good shape (we've had more plumbing problems and now a roof leak) or planning out what we were going to do the whole time she was here, but it wasn't like that. Her flight to get here was cancelled, so the airline put her on a later flight that arrived while I was at work, butI have a great boss who basically told me to just go pick her up anyway. So my mom get to spend the day at work with me! We drove around to all of the Habitat for Humanity Kansas City construction sites so she could see how much goes on for a typical Saturday. She got to meet some of our regular volunteers, a couple of the homeowner partners, and some of my coworkers. She also got some time to just sit and relax in my office reading her book while I worked on my email and database stuff. All in all I think she was impressed with what she saw and even made a donation before she left! We got to spend the rest of the weekend just doing whatever we felt like at the moment. One day we slept in late, sat around talking and went out to the Blue Koi for dinner. YUMMY! One day we visited the Steamboat Arabia museum which I have to admit was a lot bigger and better than I expected it to be! We cooked together, did a little shopping, a bit of talking, and yes there were some times where things around the house took priority (thank you to the Reddi Rooter guy who saved the day), but all in all we had great visit. My mom got to see our house (which she helped us buy), we spent lots of quality time together and I think she had a chance to relax that she doesn't get to do at home.
Then yesterday with the Skills USA group, things around the construction sites started off a bit chaotic. It's an amazing thing to have 250+ high school and college students working with one organization all at the same time, but all the more amazing when you think about the fact that they all came from all over the country and we usually deal with about 50 volunteers in one day. They have a national conference that's been coming to Kansas City annually for at least a few years now, and one day is a planned community service project. Timberland helps put the day together (a huge sponsor for the event) and it takes months of planning from all sides. We thought we had everything taken care of, but "the best laid plans..." One of our construction guys had to go to the ER when his pregnant wife had some problems, 2 of our volunteer leaders didn't show up, buses showed up earlier than expected, some dropped off more people than they were supposed to and others dropped people off at the wrong site. I think it was about 10:15 before we had everyone on a work site with something to do. There was a lot of driving around between sites and phone calls to get it all in place, but it happened. For about 2 hours there was a symphony of construction sounds all around as teams worked on a variety of tasks - building retaining walls, putting up siding, drywall, yard care, soffit, etc. Lunch was another bit of logistic challenge but everyone was fed and everyone was picked up and taken back to the convention with too many hiccups. Many of our staff and volunteers pitched in to make this day happen, and while there were some definite frustrating and stressful moments, at the end of the day we had accomplished quite a bit of work and the kids could see that clearly when they left.
I have no idea where this positive lense of mine came from - last night all I could think about was how tired I was and glad that it was all over. Today though, as I sit here in my office having just completed one more volunteer orientation, I can't help looking back on the last week and being awed at all of the things have gone on. There's a bit of pride in there, yes, but I also know that I was only a small part of much of it. I hope you can reflect on your week and feel a similar sort of satisfaction.