Good-bye to California

August 10, 2006

Footsteps in the SandIt’s about 8:00pm and I’m sitting in my office.

It’s probably the last time in my life I’ll ever be sitting in my office in an office building (but then again, you never know)…

This has been my last week working in California for my old company before returning home for a week to work from home there, and then seminary starts.  So today was a day filled with “good-byes” and “keep in touch”‘ and “make sure to call” and stuff like that.

I have remembered and been reminded today how wonderful and dynamic people are, especially the people I work with.  When I started, I inherited a wonderful lady who is still on my team and the rest I either hired or my hires hired.  From what we have today, it was me and one other lady, and we grew the team from that to about 50 people today over the past seven years.  We’ve got a lot of stories to tell over that period of time!

At my farewell luncheon and throughout the day, we told stories, reminisced, and talked about the “good ‘ol days”, the ups, the downs, and all the rest.

What has been really fun for me is that my announcement to my team that I am going to be a priest has freed them up to a certain degree– they feel a little more open around me to share more of their lives with me.  Or maybe I feel a little more free to open up to them because I’m leaving, and the reciprocating openness is what I’m sensing.  Either way, the amount of personal, non-business interaction I’ve had with my team in the last weeks has been double what it has been in, say, the past year or two.

That has made it wonderful.  Now they are not just employees, but friends.  My hectic schedule (I had a two hour commute and two small kids at home to take care of) prevented me from doing much other than getting in and straight to work, so I didn’t have time for much social interaction.  I’m so glad I’ve had this time to get to know them.

What a difference it will be to have a different pace of life in Austin.  I hope that between school, work, and family, I will not be at the same frantic pace, the rush of life, or have the urgency to get through one thing only to get the next thing started, so that I can slow down, enjoy the journey, breathe, watch, participate fully, know the people around me, get involved in my community, and have truly memorable experiences that will be life changing rather than life harrowing.

I’m sure it will be easy to get caught up in a rush again.  I’ve decided that one can do that no matter where one is or what one is doing.  So, I must make it an intentional act to simplify, to slow down, to experience, to interact, to relate.

I think Austin is a good city for that anyway.  I think being a priest is a good profession for that.  Going to seminary, working, and having two small kids– well- I’m 2 for 3 (the right place and the right profession).

So now, the lights have gone out in the main section outside my office where the cubes are.  Off in the distance I hear vacuums humming quietly.  I was just about the first one in the department, and now I’m the last one out tonight.  No big fanfare, no big party.  Just slipping quietly out the door, getting into my rental, and I’ll probably go have dinner in my hotel room.  I think I’ll eat on the balcony and watch the trees grow.  I’ll take a few deep breaths.  This has been a great place for me, California, and this job.  I’ve been through a lot here, and I’ve learned a lot.  I’m sad to leave.  But it’s time to move on.

And the next place is going to be even better.

j

See also my post on Saying Goodbye, from 6/26/06

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