Like most non-profit professionals, my “to-do” list is goes on for miles. Every day I think I’ll be able to catch up, some thing or someone always swoops in and adds a few more yards so I have yet to reach the finish line.
To add one more thing, many patrons like to stop in and chat for a minute or they stand in the window in my door and knock or call my name until I stop what I’m doing to say hello. Some will pop their head into my office to share updates on how their day is going. As the Coordinator of the performing arts program (The SHARE Project), I get the sneak preview to many a poem or essay. I used to get annoyed at having my work interrupted, but then I realized that getting upset never made my work get done faster. Over the years, I’ve been learning to embrace the [organized] chaos and interruptions that exist on the dining room floor outside my office door. For the men, women, and children who talk to me each day, I’m honored that they consider me to be a friend, even though I don’t feel I’ve done anything to deserve it.
One of my daily visitors is Larry*. Each afternoon, Larry stops in my office and we spend a few minutes talking. It’s mostly small talk – about the weather or current events, but every day, without fail, Larry knocks on the window of my door. Today, Larry told me, “I don’t have many friends, and I get lonely sometimes. But I’m glad I can come and talk to you every day.” In that instant, I felt my thoughts stop running circles to give my heart a second to appreciate what he just said. “Larry, I’m glad you come and talk to me every day too.”
*I changed the name to protect Larry’s identity.
~Jaime Parker, Manager of Programs