Sanctuary – A place of refuge or safety
Those of you who have read the blog for a while might remember that I moved offices several months ago. I was a little apprehensive about the move. I had really liked my office. I was happily settled there, but the move would make it easier for me to supervise staff and would save me many trips down the hall each day. To complicate matters, I would be locating to an office I had formerly occupied. I had worked in that old office during some of the worst days of my life, but I couldn’t really say, “Oh, I don’t want to move to that office. It holds too many memories from a very difficult time in my personal life.” Yeah, I didn’t think that would go over too well. While they might think I’m a little quirky at work, they don’t actually think I am insane. (I think!)
The office suite had been completely remodeled with new paint and new carpet. It was now a tranquil color, instead of the former industrial blue. It had always been a very bright and sunny space. I followed the advice of Seasweetie and placed a bowl of fresh lemon on my desk. I don’t remember why, but I believe it was to improve the feng shui in the new space. Below is a picture I took on move-in day. There are the lemons in the little orange bowl I bought to add a little more color to the space. The lemons are gone now, after growing a lovely crop of fuzzy mold. I still have the bowl, though, and it’s usually filled with Hershey’s Miniatures. 🙂
The office has turned out to be a wonderful, calm, peaceful, place of comfort. I have accomplished some of my best work in that space, and it has been interesting to come back to the same space under different circumstances. There are four of us who share the suite of offices. It doesn’t allow the same amount of privacy as my former office, but I find that I enjoy the company. While I could close my door if I chose, I rarely do. The only time the door is shut is if I am on a conference call or working on something that needs complete concentration. (What I mean is that I have to shut it to force myself to concentrate and not allow the ADD to kick in and make my mind wander.)
One man and three women share the four offices and common reception area. In the six months since we became office mates, we have formed sort of an alliance. We chat back and forth through our doors. We pooled our funds and set up a pretty nifty coffee station in the reception area complete with top shelf coffee and a variety of creamers. We’ve brought in plants and hung pictures. Never once has an unkind been word been spoken among the four of us. This pleasant companionship has come to mean a great deal to me.
It’s been interesting to watch as our friendships have transitioned from the friendship of co-workers to real friendship. What has even been more interesting is the fact that other people in our building have begun to notice. Our office suite has become known as a sanctuary. People often comment on it and stop in to sit in the reception area and relax for a few minutes. The politics, alliances, manipulation, and undermining that go on in other areas, just don’t exist in our little suite. Instead, we have created a pleasant, welcoming, and productive place to work.
This week someone gave me a gift card for Chick-fil-A. (YUM!) Today the gentleman in our little group asked if anyone wanted to go with him to shop during lunch. He needed help choosing a Christmas gift for his wife. We all said that shopping sounded like fun, and I offered to buy everyone lunch with my gift card. So the four of us took off for the mall during our lunch hour. As we sat eating lunch, I realized what a curious group we made. One man in his 30’s, a young woman in her late 20’s, and two older (ahem, one of them would be me!) women sharing lunch at the mall. It was so enjoyable, and I realized how blessed I am not only to have a job that I love, but to be able to work with people I truly like.
Life can be difficult, painful, crazy, and confusing sometimes. Right now, my life seems to be a mixture of all of those things. Today, I was thankful for these good people who are a part of my life. Their kindness and friendship are blessings. Months ago, I worried about sharing office space, making a move, having another change in my life, but it turned out to be such a good thing for me. The space we share has become my sanctuary from all the craziness in my life. In that place, and with these people, I am able to find moments of peace.
I wasn’t able to spend time shopping with them. I had an enjoyable lunch, though, and then I headed over to the hospital to check on my mom. The situation is not good, and there isn’t a thing anyone can do (or will do) to make it better. No, her leg wasn’t broken, but she has a torn meniscus. Ordinarily, this could be repaired, but Mom isn’t healthy enough for surgery. She is in a great deal of pain, but is only allowed a limited selection and amount of pain relieving drugs. As a dialysis patient, medications can quickly become toxic. The doctors are concerned that she will die if they were to perform surgery. They are concerned that she will die if they give her enough medication to actually help with her pain. What are they preserving? Her quality of life is negligible at this point. No matter what my personal feelings have been, past hurts and personality conflicts mean very little at this point. It’s frustrating and painful to watch her go from one medical crisis to the next. She has told me she wishes that she could just die. What do I say to that? I would be feeling exactly the same way if I were in her position.
I look back on the last two years, and I marvel at the sadness, the losses, and the changes. But it is moments like today with my co-workers, that also show me that even during the worst of times, good things continue to come my way, too. I have to be sure to keep my heart open. I need to let the good in to help carry me through the bad.