The difference a colleague can make

Life right now is strange. We continue to work, live, and operate as the pandemic changes daily. We have tension and stressors of political divides. We are all exhausted from planning and living life and knowing that no matter how much we prepare, something can cause us to upend those plans. And I don’t know about you, but if I hear the wordspivot” or “be flexible” one more time I will scream.

I know that humans are resilient, but it can be hard to find joy when surrounded by chaos. The prompt for this blog instructed me to look for joy in my life. And, as I pause and actively think about what has brought me delight this week, I realize that life is still possible amidst the chaos. More than that, my life includes people, places, and things that bring much-needed light and new energy.

One joy in my life is a dear colleague and friend. All I can say is: get you someone like this person! She knows what I need before I know or realize that I need it. She calls, texts, and checks in when I least expect it — often bringing a smile and warming my heart.

As much as I love her for her light in my life, I also love her for the truths and questions she speaks. She is the one to call me out, to challenge me, to push back. She is the first to ask if I have been scheduling and attending therapy sessions. And she does so from a place of love and respect.

Relationships with colleagues and friends like this can be hard to find. Genuine, vulnerable, open relationships are hard to cultivate, but they are necessary for our lives. I am grateful to have this person in my life. There is something so comforting to know I have her to call me out in love and to hold me accountable, but also just to be there with a coffee when it is needed or a text of encouragement.

One thing I appreciate most about this relationship is that we spend time together weekly. It is never a big production — unless you count making sure schedules align. Whether it is a walk, driving to a presbytery meeting or hanging out an event in town, it is nice to have this connection — to have a reminder of joy even in the routine of life.

I know life is hard. I know that we are exhausted. But stepping back from the chaos of the mundane, I am reminded that my life has joy. One shape it takes is the blessing of this colleague. Remembering this relationship has brought a smile to my face. It is freeing — to look for joy.

In a way, looking for joy has allowed me to refocus my attention away from the negative. Instead of planning for and focusing on all the mess or the potential for future messes, I can see what is right in front of me. I can see that there is joy and life and light even in the mess.

I hope you can see the joy in your own life, and that you are as blessed to have a person like this in your life. The type of person who exudes joy and turns around your day. The kind of person to check in on you when you need it and also call you out when needed. The kind of person that is there for all of life and the beautiful chaos it brings. It really makes all the difference.