I confess that I’m working at my favorite Panera this morning and I’m sitting next to two colleagues who are talking very loudly. At first I was judging them for being loud enough that all the people around me keep shooting them looks, to which they seem either oblivious or indifferent. I confess that have now stopped judging them for talking loudly and have become fascinated by their conversation. They work for one of the big tobacco companies and they are talking all about goals – which cigarette brands they need to push because the markup is better, building their brand, how to avoid losing people to other tobacco brands, how to manage their brands for longevity, marketing, discounts, how to push stock to convenience store managers, and other aspects of the inner workings of all the large tobacco companies. The topic of their conversation is mainly that cigarettes are a declining market, so how can they build it back up. After eavesdropping for about 10 minutes, totally fascinated, I finally realized, “I’m blatantly listening in on this conversation. I’m eavesdropping! This is none of my business.” I confess that in the past 10 minutes I have been simultaneously judging, eavesdropping, and craving nicotine.
I am learning a lot about how different parts of my vocational life take drastically different amounts of energy. For instance it takes very little energy for me to pray the daily office. Here is today’s morning office. I just got done praying it and don’t feel like it too any energy at all, if anything it left me more energized. However, managing my calendar takes a ton of energy. Scheduling a bunch of appointments takes a huge amount of energy while attending those things and engaging takes very little energy, and can sometimes leave me energized. Making myself go for a run takes a lot of energy, but the actual act of running seems to add energy. My confession is that sometimes I find myself procrastinating things that take a lot of energy. I confess that I am trying to understand if I struggle because I’m simply out of energy – drained, I don’t have it, no access to the energy – or if it’s some sort of character flaw that I need to address.
Procrastination is an interesting thing. In his book The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, Steven Sample says that the best leaders always put off their toughest decisions until the last possible moment. The reason being that new information is always coming out, new variables present themselves, when people are involved the reason for the decision may change or even dissipate completely. I confess that I wonder if sometimes patience can be mistaken for a form of procrastination.
Aside: praying the Daily Office is simply a prayerful reading of a liturgical prayer service at specific points throughout the day. The Morning Office is meant to be observed as a corporate morning worship service with other believers, but many of us have to observe it privately because we don’t have a time/place to gather, or don’t live close enough to others who would be willing to gather. In the Daily Office, I read the scriptures, prayers, canticles, and collects in a prayerful manner, aware of God’s presence with me as I do, and aware that there are thousands of other Christians in my time-zone who are doing the same right now, too.
I confess that my next door neighbor died last week. He had cancer. He was 48. I confess that something about this seems very wrong and I am struggling – as many others are – to come to terms with it.
Okay friends, I made my confession, time for you to make yours.