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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Teamwork? Who, me?

I very much liked the people at the church I went to on Sunday. It's just down the block, and the congregation reflects the neighborhood---a mix of races, classes, ages, etc. 
I liked every single person who stood up to talk during the praise/protest/prayer time, mostly about their distress over the election, from one perspective or another.

Except the pastor.
He says things I like, such as, "Just like migrating geese take turns being the lead flyer in the V, in order that everyone can fly longer and farther, so we take turns being leaders in this church."


But his alpha–body language and voice say things I'm not that keen on. I heard, "If I share leadership, it's because I own the power to chose to adopt a policy of sharing leadership."

Leaders like that and I have never worked well together.

Still, the congregation was just what I'm looking for---they initiate and do a lot of things themselves, which always impresses me. It's so different than the Catholic Church I've been used to, where you practically have to get the bishop's approval to turn around. If this congregation wants to do something, they can. They started a farmers market in their parking lot this summer, for instance.

I emailed their artist in residence (they have one!), asking if they have an art-makers group. She wrote back saying they don't, it's a great idea, but she just had a baby and doesn't have time: 
would I like to start such a group?

I wrote back saying, "Oh lord, no! Within the year, I would be yelling at your pastor. I better keep a low profile." 

No, I didn't.
Maybe I should have, but no. I wrote back and said, "Um, sort of? I would at least be willing to start a conversation if anyone's interested."

She and I are going to meet in the next week or two to talk about it.

I want to position myself REALISTICALLY here. Some of you've witnessed me burn in resentment and ultimately crash into the stupidity of [me in] groups. 
And yet I want to get better at working with people. Eyes wide open, I want to practice being confident and self-aware enough that I can function better in concert with my fellow humans, annoying as we may be. 

Partly I want this for political reasons: looking ahead, I see that more of us are going to have to pick up the slack of helping one another when government drops that responsibility. 
For instance, the low-cost/sliding fee scale health care clinic in this neighborhood closed after Obamacare came in. I'd bet anything that people are already scrambling to try to get it back up and running for when Obamacare is wiped out.
That's not my arena, but I do want to be in the right arena.

Also, I think I'm alone too much, more than is good for me. I like being alone––or, anyway, I'm very comfortable being alone.
So I wouldn't say I'm lonely, exactly, but I do miss face-to face chit-chat and the unintentional stuff you pick up from being around people--the good kind of germs.
I really enjoyed talking with people on Sunday, and I'm looking forward going to the Thanksgiving pot luck at the church tonight. 

(I'm making roasted butternut squash brushed with coconut oil, drizzled with lime juice and honey, and sprinkled with parsley.)
__________________

So, what works?
Avoiding conflict, and being able to handle (or even resolve) conflict.

Timing
This is key: I need to speak up (gently) when I don't like something, at the time that I don't like it. I need to say no thanks (gently) to stuff I don't like or want, and not just float along thinking it will be OK later. Or, like with the art group, keep my options open--I'm willing to consider it but retain the right to back out.
If I wait too long, resentment festers.
IF I do these things in a timely manner, they're mild, no big deal. 

Distance
Also key. The thing with people like the powerful pastor is,  I don't much like them, but they're magnetic. You can just sense their invisible sheriff's badge. 
With these people, I think the best thing I can do is to STAY AWAY.
With other people, it's a matter of finding a sustainable distance.  

Those are the Big Two. Then, lots of other things, all of which fall under the heading of the most important thing:
DON'T FOOL YOURSELF.

2 comments:

ArtSparker said...

I hear you on groups. At least the Holiday Season gives you an opportunity to do something seasonally helpful - ie, a specific time - and then you can decide about how often or continuously you want to do this stuff.

Frex said...

Yes, that's a good point, Sparker---there's a lot of stuff going on at the church during the holidays--I can lurk and see how/if I want to join in.
I feel wary (in a wise way).