Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Need for a Deficit in Attention

Our community newspaper comes out twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays. Last Friday’s edition included a supplement that I think is a semi-annual publication. While it didn’t really come out and say it in a headline or descriptive article, the theme of this particular supplement seemed to be ‘people behind the scenes’. A portion of one sentence pulled out of a paragraph on the front cover read, “meet your neighbors.”

It featured articles about people whose job responsibilities are important to the success of their businesses. However, it’s the results of their work, not the individuals themselves that are more likely to be the topic of newspaper articles. There were interviews with a coach, band director, and assistant principal from the local high school. They also covered the local elections director and the Democratic and Republican Party chairpersons. There were several others included as well and one of them was me.

Now, in case you didn’t know this about me, I am not comfortable with very much attention. I prefer the quiet bliss of anonymity. I was a little concerned when a SPORTS editor called me to conduct the interview, given my unchallenged (mostly by me) athletic prowess and all. Plus, I also have a few personal issues with our local paper. I read every issue that comes out, but sometimes the ‘opportunities for improvement’ in it are so blatant that it forces the small but powerful gene of perfectionism in me to spasm. The combination of all of these things caused an accumulation of dread in me until the day the article actually hit the newsstands.

Many of my friends have told me that it was such a nice article. Some of them have teased me about it because they know how I am about such things. Oh, and there were pictures too, of which my friends were also complimentary. I was just glad to see that Mr. Sports Editor included my comment about there being so much more to my life than my nine-to-five job.

Someone asked if it was rewarding and vindicating to finally get some recognition. My response to them was that there are so many other things I would rather have. Taking pride in someone else singing my praises is not one of them. It’s not that I’m all that righteous, because I’m not. I still struggle with lots of other issues--like selfishness. I’m just scared to death of pride. I don’t really know why. It was never something that was encouraged in the household I grew up in. I guess I’m afraid that if I take pride in and am recognized for my accomplishments, then that fills up the space where something more important should be.

I want people whose paths I’ve crossed to remember how and when their lives were changed for the better. I don’t need them to remember me. I need them to see Jesus. My prayer is that if there is anything I can do to make that happen, that I will not be too proud to do it…or to step aside and let someone else do it. That’s the legacy I want to leave.

The last sentence in the news article quoted my boss saying I was the glue that keeps things moving. Most of the glues I’ve been acquainted with are characteristically sticky and if you leave it alone long enough, it completely stops things from moving. I’m really not sure WHAT that says about me but I think it’s more of something to laugh about than to be proud of.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

1 comment:

hdarlenec said...

Nancy, you are the glue that keeps so many things together you just don't know it. You've given me perspective on so many things and I value your thoughts and opionions more than you will ever know.