Curious Miracles in the Workplace
We look up at the ceiling, which is abruptly shifting. Our hands suddenly appear to be miles away. We find ourselves running a race without a finish line and almost drowning in a pool of tears. Everything grows curiouser and curiouser.
Last Thursday my nephews and I fell down a rabbit hole into Wonderland at Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum. The exhibit scrambled our expectations. We saw our hands and the ceiling and even our tears in a new light. They were surprising. Walking through that children's museum on a weekday was anything but routine, anything but work, anything but predictable.
Work is predictable. You listen to the traffic report as you drive in. Arrive at the old fortress at the appointed time. Move to your desk. Check your email. Make a list of what needs to be done today. Spot your coworkers hunched in front of their computers. Same old fluorescent light spilling over the scene. Same old pictures on your desk. Same old, same old.
To see yourself caught in the monotony of work, take a look at Charlie Chaplin's film, Modern Times. Little black and white people shuffle mechanically around a factory, tightening bolts with wrenches, everyone and everything in lock step. Been there, done that.
But Jesus argued that we should become like little children. He took the day off, gathered a child onto his lap, and told his followers: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).
Children are capable of surprise. They haven't repeated the same actions until they're routine. They are amused by the way light falls on trees. They're amazed at the way ice cream tastes. They laugh at water. Lucky little children. They're doing everything for the first time.
It's harder for us who have done it all before. The trick is to still see possibilities around us. To see the play of emotions on your coworker's face and realize today is not exactly the same to her as any other day. Today is a new chance. Today you can say something thoughtful, imaginative, helpful. Today you should think about what is possible. Today is all you have.
You have to make the decision to see each moment as new and filled with possibilities.
My two- and four-year-old nephews didn't really need the exhibit about Lewis Carroll's famous Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. To them, life is surprising because they're children. It was I who needed the exhibit. It reminded me to listen for the knocking in the cedar outside my office where a bird is building a nest. It reminded me that my own hand, typing this, is a miracle.
Read more of Jeanne Murray Walker's poetry, stories, and plays at her website, www.JeanneMurrayWalker.com.