Monday, May 21, 2012


I opened an email from my boss that said "Meeting on Friday at 1 PM Sharp!" and then because I already knew about that meeting I closed the email without reading any further. That was a mistake because what I missed was an important detail about a free lunch that would be served at 12:30.

Friday morning arrived and as is typical for a Friday morning it was busy in the WIC Clinic. I listened to client after client complain about their struggles with breastfeeding or about the difficulties of finding a dentist who would take Badgercare state insurance. I encouraged these young mothers about the benefits and the bonding of breastfeeding and assisted them as best I could, and offered referrals and sympathy for the mothers who couldn't find relief for their children's toothaches. "We should all tell our children to grow up to be dentists," I said, "there clearly is a shortage."

I worked past my normal lunch break and wondered why none of my coworkers were leaving for their own lunch breaks. I popped my head into Chue's office and she explained that our boss was treating everyone to lunch at the meeting so nobody was taking a lunch break. I assumed she meant the lunch would be served a one o'clock when the meeting started.  I went back to my office to work on sending out referrals to doctors about the low iron levels of some of my clients.

Around 12:45 I noticed that the office was strangely silent. I walked throughout the clinic and found that everyone was gone. I was alone. I headed down to the meeting room and found my boss and all of my co-workers eating lunch. "I thought the meeting was at 1," I said. They asked me if I had read the email that said lunch would be served at 12:30, before the meeting would begin.  Obviously, I hadn't. I made a mental note to myself to always read the complete emails from my boss and not simply skim the headlines in the future.  I couldn't help but feel a little miffed that nobody missed me at the lunch.

The meeting began with an in-service on how to deal with clients who are suffering from trauma. Trauma, it was explained, can occur from a major life catastrophe or from multiple minor everyday stresses like passing ten people in the hallway and not one of them says hello to you. Or like arriving late for a lunch meeting and nobody even noticing that you weren't there, I thought.

I felt traumatized.

One of the points of the in-service on how to cope with the traumas of daily life was to begin and end each day by being grateful for one good thing in your life. How Ignatian, I thought, but bit my tongue before I offered that piece of unwanted input at the secular office meeting. Instead, I offer it here, along with a list of people and things for which I am grateful.  Linking up with Ann Voskamp's A Holy Experience Blog and her Multitudes on Mondays gratitude list, I thank God for...

~six newly ordained priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee!
~warm spring weather
~lilacs in bud
~a free lunch courtesy of my boss
~my husband and his humor-forever making me laugh
~daily holy hours
~friends who welcome my lengthy and frequent emails
~a new refrigerator after 20 years with our reliable Kenmore
~two sons with full-time summer groundskeeping jobs for the church-thanks for keeping them physically close to you, Lord!
~a son off to seminary college in a few short months
~birdsong in the early morning hours
~vegetable and flower gardens planted and ready to grow
~butterflies dancing around me while I work
~a timely thunderstorm just after planting is through
~son who gives me a bouquet of dead flowers a week after Mother's Day having just recovered them from his hiding place (it's the thought that counts-right?)

What are you thankful for?


  1. People often hurt us without even realizing it. I wonder how often i have hurt someone else, too, without knowing?

    I love your list. Especially the last one! :)

  2. Me too, Colleen. I'm sure that I have left much pain in my wake as I move through life. How can we ever make up for the damage we create without even realizing it, without ever meaning to hurt others? With prayer, I suppose.

    My son Justin is a riot! He always makes me laugh! I think I enjoyed the dead flowers more than I would have enjoyed live flowers!