It was one of those days where things didn’t go wrong, but they seemed hard for some reason. Very hard. I felt… I dunno. Panicked, I guess. I felt like there was a tremendous amount of pressure on me to perform, to do things well, right, perfect even. I felt I had no room for error, no room for a miscue of any kind. (This would make sense if you knew what I had to do. Suffice it to say I could cost the company money, put my boss in the middle of a fight he didn’t want and doesn’t need, make our division and team look bad, and piss off a bunch of customers, all in one fell swoop.)
So I ground my teeth and knit my brows and tensed my shoulders. I prayed, a lot. I walked away from my desk more than once, just to get to a point of being able to face the never-ending task again. Only this time there’s more of it, more to do, more building and demands. This one’s urgent, that one requires a twenty-four hour turn-around, I’m about six days behind all of them and they just keep coming, moving forward. The flow doesn’t care I’m having a bad day, having a hard time, struggling to do the work of three people as one. Oh, and keep up my regular duties too as well as get some other stuff going which isn’t part of my normal routine.
On the horizon is help, but that horizon line keeps moving… or at least that’s how it looks from here. I can’t seem to gain ground on it, to close the gap at all, and that magical “soon” drifts agonizingly away from my outstretched hope.
But for now, it’s me and only me. Another one comes in, then another. Seventy-one, -two, -three… I gain a little ground, get it under seventy. I do some of my other duties and come back. Seventy-four, -six. I race to close them, solve them, do them right, make no mistakes, get them out. I came in Monday and there were ninety-two waiting. I worked hard, got a breath of fresh air with some help, and kept going. Monday is a heavy day for me. Reports to generate, data to scrub, again no mistakes! My boss sends this to internal and external clients. It has to be right. Get it right!
The early afternoon I turn to it and hit as hard as I can. Help. Someone to contribute; we get it down to about 54. Tuesday back to seventy-one to start. I don’t know where it will go the next day. Stay on it!
Emails demanding my attention be diverted to other things. They press me, hound me, pressure. Call my boss when I don’t respond. I can’t do both, customers have the priority – I take my chances, try to explain.
Why can’t I go faster, do more in a day? Why is this so much harder for me than for the people who taught me to do it?
Back on it. Over and over. Some of them start to look the same, I get confused, which ones did I do? Which can I leave for another day? Who’s the one I need to respond to in twenty-four hours? Is that reasonable? Possible?
I came home disoriented, drained, discouraged and defeated. My loving wife greets me with my smiling children and the hugs melt some of the pain away, and I cling to her for a few moments. Later I can talk about it. Some.
Then I decide to ignore my responsibilities, ignore my duties for a bit, and just play on the Internet. I open an email and find… It’s from God. And He tells me I can call on Him anytime when things feel too hard for me to do it alone.
I cried a little. Not much. But a little. And I knew then my evening was going to turn around. To top it off I had a lot of fun playing a silly game and set a personal best, then broke it two rounds later. Not earth-shattering, but fun. And I went to bed smiling. Wednesday nothing will be different, the demands will all be there. But I’ll be different, perhaps.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Proverbs 3:5-6 [The Message]
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