Friday, September 11, 2009

Motivation VS. Inspiration in the Yellow

Motivation is driven by earthly desire and a need to gain self-satisfaction;
Inspiration is driven by heavenly success and a desire to please God.

Motivation is like showering or brushing your teeth--you need to do it every day:
Inspiration happens once and is there forever.

Motivation can be broken;
Inspiration can be blocked bit never truly goes away.

Motivation ends during tough or inconvenient times;
Inspiration endures hardship and failure.

Motivation yields to excuses;
Inspiration will not stop until it see results.

Motivation is like tiptoeing into a cold pool;
Inspiration gives you the courage to dive right in, take the leap, and go for it.

Motivation changes with changing emotions;
Inspiration is stronger than a particular feeling at a particular moment.

Motivation takes no effort of focus;
Inspiration takes the effort of focusing on God and the responsibilities we all have.

Motivation creates the discipline and interest to change temporarily;
Inspiration creates the obedience to change permanently.

Motivation is driven by a love of self;
Inspiration is driven by a love of God.

By Ben Lerner

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

No Parking in the Yellow--Move On!

On my way to the Archives today, I passed this sign and had to snap a photo of it! "No Parking In The Yellow: This is a loading dock."

Outside of the Humanities Building, there is a small parking lot with a few meters and a large open space that trucks often use to load things onto the service elevator. In the past, I have seen cars parked in this loading zone; I, myself, have often been guilty of doing so, justifying my action with a quick, "I'm just running into my office for a quick second." Seconds would turn into minutes and before long, I'd realized I left my car in the loading zone and like any good Christian, I'd pray, "Lord, please don't let me have a ticket." or "Lord, please don't let my car get towed." Taking this crazy risk seemed worth it, especially when the nearest parking was a block away and wasn't guaranteed.

Anyway, it seems that Facilities and Management had had enough and decided to paint the Loading Dock space in bright yellow as well as post this sign. You'd have to be really brave to park in the Loading Zone.

As I walked pass this sign, I couldn't help but chuckle at the sign and think about the times in my life when I have tried to park myself in spots that are meant for loading only; when I misuse the purpose of the loading zone. Usually, you park in loading zones when you are actively transporting something from one place to another. Loading zones are not rest spots; you either drop something off or pick up something and then MOVE ON! It can be dangerous to park in a spot meant for active loading. And, it can be unfortunate to find yourself in a Loading Zone and miss your opportunity to either drop off or pick up something you need for your journey.

As mentioned early, yes, I am guilty. I parked in the Loading Zone in front of the Humanities Building many times and DID NOT get a ticket. I have also been guilty of misusing other Loading Zone opportunities in my life. Whether it has been refusing to "drop off" past hurts or lingering doubts about who I am and where I am supposed to be, yes I am guilty. I have also been guilty of not "picking up" some tools I needed for my journey, only to realize, in hind sight, that these tools were necessary.

As I walked past the Loading Zone, I chuckled not only because I found the sign amusing, but also because of the realization that came with it: Today, I can walk past the Loading Zone and know that I am not stuck in a place I am not supposed to be. I can walk past the Loading Zone and know that I am not illegally parked. I am moving on. There are still areas in my life and thoughts I need to drop off and places where I need to pick up tools--but that's called living. The most important thing is that I am not stationary, I am not parked. I am moving on...I am moving on in my health and wellness (trying to put some better eating habits in place)...I am moving on in my professional and academic life (not procrastinating!)...I am moving on in my relationships (trying to be honest with those I love and love better)...I am moving on...and it feels good.

"It requires greater courage to preserve inner freedom, to move on in one's inward journey into new realms, than to stand defiantly for outer freedom. It is often easier to play the martyr, as it is to be rash in battle." ~Rollo May

I love the quote above by Rollo May. While some may desire to be a martyr, I don't. I want to live and work hard and long! I want to spend my life working on worthwhile pursuits. But to do this, I must keep moving, and work to be freed from things that bind me internally (like parking in loading zones!)

It requires greater courage to move on...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor in the Pulpits Litany--Honoring Workers on Labor Day

In church on Sunday (Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL), we read the following litany. As we reflected on the labor of workers in our society, it caused me to think more deeply about the meaning of Labor Day and to truly thank God for those who work to make my life more comfortable. The Interfaith Worker Justice organization publishes materials for churches who would like to celebrate all workers on Labor Day.

Labor in the Pulpits Litany

Leader: Today we celebrate workers and their contributions. Just as people in our sacred texts had varying jobs, we recognize the various gifts of workers today. We celebrate those in agricultural and food service.

All: We give thanks for the work of your hands. May God bless the crops and animals that they might be plentiful. May the fields, factories, grocery stores, and restaurants be safe and healthy places of work. And may we strive to reform those workplaces that are unsafe and unfair in their treatment of the workers.

Leader: We celebrate those in helping professions: medical professionals, teachers, social workers, and legal assistants.

All: We give thanks for the work of your hands. May God bless you so that through you others may thrive. Forgive the places that have been neglected due to injustice. Give us strength and courage to work toward fair access to services for all God’s children and just treatment of those who give so freely of themselves.

Leader: We celebrate those who work in factories and building professions.

All: We give thanks for the work of your hands. May God bless you and your work that allows us to have safe shelter and vehicles, even as some of your working conditions are unsafe. We support your struggle for just wages and working conditions so that you too may be safe.

Leader: We celebrate those who work from the home: caring for children, elderly, and infirmed.

All: We give thanks for the work of your hands. May God bless your work and give you strength to carry on when the work is challenging. Our culture may not recognize fully your jobs as work, but we know that your work is often challenging. We will work with you for the respect you deserve.

Leader: We celebrate those who work in cleaning professions.

All: We give thanks for the work of your hands. May God bless you and the work you do. Through your work our hotels, offices, and streets are cleaned and prepared for our use, and yet
we often do not see you and the strenuous effort required of you. Forgive us for not recognizing your contributions. We support you and your struggle for fair and just wages and benefits.

Leader: We celebrate those who wish to work but are unable to due to injury, illness, disability, or lack of access to jobs or transportation.

All: May God bless you and give you perseverance in this struggle. We repent for the ways in which we may have contributed to your situation. We support you and will journey with you in the process of searching for opportunities for work.

Leader: Let us pray:

All: Creator God, who created all things from the work of your hands, we commend to you all workers, those named here and those who remain unnamed. Forgive us for the ways we contribute to injustice perpetrated on workers and on your creation. Carpenter Jesus, who draws us into your work with the marginalized, call us into your work of justice that we might change our own unjust ways and work toward fair and just treatment of workers. Powerful Holy Spirit, who empowers us for the journey, move in our lives and in our work that we might persevere in the face of injustice and claim the power you have bestowed upon us to work for justice.