Monday, February 23, 2009


This postacard photo is worth enlarging. It is the prayer garden of Saint Claire, in Assisi. It's in the buildings that St. Francis originally used and then gave to Claire for her community and their work.

For the past four and a half years, I kept this postcard on the panel in front of my desk at work, so that whenever needed, I could focus on this beautiful scene and forget for a moment that I was in an office with no window.

Well, now I am using three different offices. And they all have windows. I am so thankful for the windows, for the light. But I do miss having my own space.

I'm a very space-oriented person, as people who come to my house or office tend to notice. I have a real need to make the area I'm in comfortable and beautiful and grounding. When I've had to work in truly ugly spaces, I've tended to get more headaches, feel tired more, feel discouraged, etc.

So, now I am working in places with windows. And they aren't ugly. But they aren't the way I would do them. And since I'm in three places, even if I might be allowed to add some of my personal touches, it will be different in every place. So there isn't that sense of continuity, of "this is my space."

Especially in counseling this matters to me, because as I experience my work, I am creating a place where people come to feel safe, to open up, to connect with me and with themselves. I have tried hard (when I had my own office) to make that space safe and welcoming and peaceful for them. It's important to me, too, because after some sessions I feel exhausted, or sad, or confused; and I need a safe, grounding place for myself to regroup and get ready for the next encounter.

Right now I don't feel like I have that.

It's going to be a big adjustment.

But I'm thinking this little postcard might be my biggest help in the transition. I can carry it everywhere with me, and set it somewhere, no matter which office I'm in. It isn't as if Assisi has changed, so even though I'm nowhere near Assisi, it just may become my grounding space. Things oould be worse than that!

(And I realize I haven't mentioned on the blog that I do now have a place to work; I am employed. This is a huge blessing, and I am deeply grateful for the way it has worked out. It is no small thing in the current economic situation to have made a transition this quickly to a new workplace, and I realize that.)


Carolinagirl said...

It's interesting to learn what we hold dear to our hearts.

I've a ceramic plate that hangs on my wall. It's more squre than it is round. It's - well - an odd pinkish color and has a picture of two "hand drawn" angels on it. Underneath the angels is written "and if we're good, we'll go to Texas.

I remember the plate hanging in my Grandmother's kitchen when I was a girl. When my Grandmother passed away in July 2000, I was asked if there was anything of her's that I wanted. That plate was the only thing that came to mind. It has hung in my kitchen in four different states.

As I look to move again, I'm debating on placing it in storage with many of my belongings. I think, however, that I'll bring it with me. When I think of the cold, dark days that Alaska will hold, my guess in that plate will hold a warm, sunny place in my heart.

Carisse said...

Dear sister, I am delighted to hear that you have a new job. Congratulations, and I thank God. Make a high-quality digital copy of your beloved photo and have a color print made, even enlarged and adhered to foam core board, if you can. Then put your original one safe at home in a frame with an acid-free mat.