Thoughts from Laura Benson . . . .
.Office Environment Spring 2020
One of the reasons I thought to write the occasional Prescription article is the shock I received when I took this job and actually participated in what goes on in a church office. I am a cradle Episcopalian and have attended church all my life (except for those brief college years when I was out in the fields tossing silage and hay on Sunday mornings, picking up newborn lambs-THAT was the life!) Until now, I had not experienced first-hand the daily tossed salad that the average church office serves up. My jobs at the law firms were far more structured, and of late, had only two attorneys to whom I typically reported. At St. Luke’s, I never know what the day will bring, what will pull me from one task to another on a moment’s notice, what will cause the complete cessation of any work at all, to concentrate on the needs of whomever has come to visit. IT IS WONDERFUL-and I now give my home church secretary a lot more slack than I once did, because I cannot imagine Jackie’s situation is any different from mine. Thank you, St. Luke’s, for opening my eyes, and my heart!
And another big thank you to those of you who prayed for me and made offers of assistance before and during my recent trip to the Land of the Long White Cloud. I am humbled by the outpouring of support I have received, both from St. Luke’s and from St. Barnabas. God has been exceptionally good to me!
As I said above, I am, thanks be to God, safely returned from New Zealand. We tend to take the continuation of our regular routine, and our daily safety in general, for granted unless confronted with a sudden change in life, don’t we? And what a change I returned to find. I rarely think about going outside for exercise, or the oncoming traffic on Huguenot Trail when driving, but when that huge aircraft started accelerating down the runway, I was suddenly filled with thoughts of life’s fragility, and whether all my affairs were left in order. Safe Church Training is much the same-those of us involved in activities in the church have just “driven along the same road” for years. But when confronted unexpectedly by a situation that is accelerating, all of us want to KNOW that our affairs ARE in order. If you haven’t taken the training, and it is required of your position, sign up now. Then, when the known ground falls away and the wheels go up, you can rest your head and know that God is behind you, and over you, and with you. Always. Laura Benson
Office Environment (February 2020)
As I sit at my desk at St. Luke’s, I have a “birds eye” view out the
front window of the various aviators (mostly cat birds and cardinals)
who regularly visit the bushes on either side of the front door of the
parish house. As the leaves have fallen, the activity in the bushes
has ramped up-on occasion, a wren has alit on the windowsill and
peered into the office, just making certain Kathy and I are at work,
while checking the sash corners for bugs. I am going to have to
assume that spring will bring a nest or two, and that arriving at work
may entail ruffled feathers on everyone’s part.
Midway through Fall, there was a foggy damp day when Kathy and I
looked out the front office window at St. Luke’s and spied 3 buck
deer across the road, enjoying a lunchtime repast in the ancillary
parking area. They stayed there, munching away, until we left for
the day. I have also arrived at work a time or two to find deer in the
parking lot of the parish hall. And as January progressed, the robins
arrived in quantity to strip the holly bushes of berries-on a
Wednesday in January, as I picked up the mail in the morning, a
startled robin flew into the prickly leaves of the holly by the mailbox,
realized his error, and left, cursing me loudly.
What, you are asking, does this have to do with church office work?
God has given to each of us, human and animal, the free gift of a
place to live—as humans, we have been charged with the earth’s care.
I had become inured to my commute into the Tuckahoe area—noticing
only if there were an accident, accumulated snow, or power failure
at a traffic light, that impacted my ride into work or return home.
My commute to St. Luke’s is still fresh each day-the countryside, the
winter starkness that will turn, in time, to the greening of spring.
Lent is coming-a time of preparation and inward searching, before
Easter arrives again in all its glory. It is so easy to fall into a rut,
with your head down, working away, and not notice what is right in
front of us. St. Barnabas’, and Chesterfield County, are all a
beautiful part of God’s creation. The entire environment is
suffering, due to our abuse and misuse—that becomes clearer with
each passing day. At home, I have jumped on the “zero waste”
bandwagon, and turned my kitchen garbage can into a quart jar-if any
piece of trash will not fit in the jar, I must find some other way to
dispose of it. Small steps, but isn’t that how each of us got our start
in life—baby steps? This Lent, is there something you can do to make
a difference in your environment? Take a few minutes to look out
your front window at a view that may have become commonplace, and
see what God has placed there for you to notice today.
Submitted by Laura Benson.
Laura is a long time member of St. Barnabas. She is currently the Jr. Warden on the Vestry; a member of the choir and a volunteer on the Altar Guild. Laura is semi-retired and is a part-time secretary at St. Lukes in Powhatan.