Thursday, January 3, 2008

All In A Day's Work

I e-mail myself when I think of a potential blog idea. I was going through these and had a hard time choosing one. I plan on using all of these ideas in the future, but nothing seemed to fit me for today.

I'm back at work after a fabulous holiday. I saw my naughty little niece, went shopping with my sister, and watched movies late at night with MY HOUSE. I didn't really ask for anything for Christmas, so everything I received was 'just what I wanted' by default. I ate good food, spent hours in my new fuzzy bathrobe, and re-read Emma for what must surely be the 167th time.

And then, the holiday came to a close. Though not really ready to go back to normal life, I didn't have the horrific feeling of dread that used to come when I was still in school. Who wouldn't want more time in that white cloud of robe heaven? But really, I had a lot to look forward to.

The New Year stretched ahead of me: clean, calm, and full of promise. I listened to my Dad preach on Sunday about discovering your purpose and feeling alive in the coming months. Although moved for those around me, I personally felt empty. I knew what was coming when I stepped into the office.

"Christ Church, how may I direct your call?"
"Christ Church, how may I direct your call?"
"Thanks for calling Christ Church, you are talking to someone who feels rather embarassed to be answering the phones and so I have disguised my voice. How may I direct your call?"

I am a receptionist. I could attempt to glorify the term, or let you know that I do manage to accomplish additional tasks while chained almost literally to this pen scratched desk. But the truth is, I answer the phones.

I am happy to have a job that allows me to be free for nights and weekends and in a pinch bring my kids in until I can bloody well find somewhere for them to go.

I am truly grateful for this job that lets me work with people that I genuinely like, or at least respect.

I know that I am lucky to have a job where I can read, as I don't always get the chance to read as much as I would like when I go home and have to decide if I'm going to fix pancakes yet again for dinner (see previous blog about the stress that pancakes create) or if my kids will understand why we are going to have Refrigerator Surprise, which is comprised of scrambled eggs, broccoli with cheese sauce, spaghetti noodles and feta cheese...and maybe some of that turkey meat....

Anyways, I realize that coming to a heated/cooled buildling in a safe area for moderately fair compensation with nice people puts me in an envied position for many people.

Alas, my Holiday Hot Chocolate high quickly cooled when I repeated my receptionist's plea: "How may I direct your call?"

In case you have never answered phones, let me interpret this for you: "Tell me quickly who you want to speak with so I can patch you over to that person. No, I don't really want to hear your question/complaint/problem. Even if I knew what to do, I do not have the authority to do so. I have no keys, physical or literal, to any part of this building. I am a gatekeeper of voicemail. Don't mess with me, or YOU WON'T GET TO LEAVE A MESSAGE!"

I help pay bills, which is important. Because of my gatekeeping, we were able to buy a home, which is no small thing.


I. feel. small.

I'm turning 26 in a few weeks. I have many years, at least I hope, to find something that I feel called to do. And after finally finishing my education and getting my kids off to school in the morning, I hope to drive somewhere and do Something Important.

I really do want this to be the year that I find out what it is that I'm supposed to do. But I have to say that I don't really feel a lot of hope in that direction. I've hoped for that for many many years now, all to no avail. Some years I have poured coffee, others I have collected tuition payments and recorded them on little blue cards. I have nannied, sold holistic medications, and unloaded an Old Navy truck. And now I answer phones.

We do what we do to survive. No matter how wealthy or lucky we get, this is always going to be true. I might answer phones until I die. That would be alright. But I hope to find more than that to fill these needs.

At the end of my day, I want to know that at some point during those hours I have done more than send people to the electronic hades of corporate voicemail.

I'm not sure how to end this little thought. But I do have to go, the phone is ringing.

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