Saturday, February 21, 2009



Photo courtesy of the Internet

I’ve always been the one to up and leave my co-workers, moving on to a new job or new home far away. The farewells and good-byes were never easy for me when a good friend was concerned. Maybe the good-byes were more difficult for the ones I left behind? I don't know. Now, for the first time, I’m on the receiving end.

My friend at the office, a highly skilled police officer and trainer, will retire next week and pursue a training company of his own. We’ve worked closely for three years - close enough that we can finish sentences for each other and often don’t need words to speak. He helped me overcome my fear of motorcycles and took me for a ride, slowly around the parking lot once. Sure, he’ll return occasionally to visit or teach but I’ll miss our daily laughs and his greeting every morning. I'm already missing him before he is gone.

Another gentleman at the college is getting ready to retire and should be leaving his office any day now, after forty-something years of service. I’ve never met him but a few days ago he sent a college-wide e-mail that contained a poem that is so meaningful to me right now. When asked why he continued to work for so long, he offered this to all.


Sometimes you just connect,
like that.
No big thing maybe
but sometimes beyond the usual business stuff.
It comes and goes quickly
so you have to pay attention.
A change in the eyes
when you ask about the family,
a pain flickering behind the statistics
about a boy and a girl in school,
or about seeing them every other Sunday.
An older guy talks about his bride,
a little affectation after twenty-five years.
A hot-eyed achiever laughs before you want him to.
Someone tells about his wife’s job
or why she quit working to stay home.
An old joker needs another laugh on the way
to retirement.
A woman says she spends a lot of her salary
on an au pair
and a good one is hard to find
but worth it because there’s nothing more important
than the baby.
In every office
you hear the threads
of love and joy and fear and guilt,
the cries for celebration and reassurance,
and somehow you know that connecting those threads
is what you are supposed to do
and business takes care of itself.

Love and Profit: The Art of Caring Leadership by James A. Autry

In the building next door there works a sweet lady who had to leave the office and check herself into a hospital last week. She’s wearing a heart monitor now. It’s the job, you know? And everything else in life that complicates. We’ve mentioned getting away for lunch together … always too busy … never came up for air to do it.


I think it’s time we pack a few pieces of fruit, crackers and cheese, and take a ride to the duck pond for an hour at noon. And reflect some.


Relax, reflect, and talk about birds. Not budgets.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Your post made me ache a little May. We all wait so long to say the things we've been meaning to say, to do the things we intended.

KGMom said...

Good advice--relax, reflect, and talk about birds.
Hard to go wrong in life if you follow that advice.

Heidi said...

ah, relax, reflect, something we always dream of doing, but somehow never do... and it would be so simple to do too!

Sorry they all seem to be leaving at once Mary :(

Kim said...

I can so identify with this poem too. My co worker became a grandma this week and I was as much of a wreck as she was waiting for the baby to be born. I guess they become like our own little other family of sorts.

I hope you find peace feeding the ducks. I know it always makes me feel better and helps to put things into perspective.

Take care Mary!

Corey said...

Great post Mary, I love the poem.


Dawn Fine said...

Great Post...soooo true!

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Who you work with is so important. You do have special relationships--different from our normal relationships with friends and lovers, but they do become 'family'. Love the poem! I know you will miss your friend, Mary.

We have new computers--and have spent most of today getting them all set up. It will probably take another day or two. BUT-they are WONDERFUL--and faster than lightning.

Have a great Sunday.

Dog_geek said...

This post really touched my heart. I loved the poem, and I am definitely feeing the need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and take some time to reflect.

NCmountainwoman said...

Nice post. We do need to relax and reflect. Oh, and talk about birds.

beckie said...

What a lovely gift to all his co-workers. A way to let everyone know how much they meant to him over the years.

It is hard to lose someone youve spent so much time with. Like a memeber of the family. But how lucky you were to have known him all the years.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Sigh. Very sweet. Nice butterbutt too, M.

A New England Life said...

The poem says it all, doesn't it Mary? I never thought of other people being the threads of life. Great analogy.

Funny how time goes by and we miss so much. Glad you are able to come up for a short while and breathe some of it in before it's too late.


Cicero Sings said...

Sometimes we get so caught up in circumstances ... we need to step back and say, what is truly meaningful in the light of eternity ... and pursue that!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

I am drawn to the water, too, especially at times like this, to think and reflect.
I like being able to see openness before me--so the thoughts don't get stuck inside, and have somewhere to go.

Diane AZ said...

This post is a reminder that every little thing we do effects others in someway, whether we're aware of it or not. Great advice to relax, reflect, and talk about birds, not budgets, for a while.

Jayne said...

In the end, it's the connections and people really. It's never about the "day to day stuff."

Vickie said...

So thoughtful and beautifully presented, Mary.

The Quacks of Life said...

birds are definitely more relaxing than budgets!

Anonymous said...

yeck budgets . . . and love the poem!

Mel said...

Dearest Mary,
Birds and nature are a good 'therapy'.
I'm sorry to hear about your friend leaving the office, but you know, you never lose true friends ;)

Kathleen said...

I am gratful for your reminder to cherish and savor.

The poem is lovely and I think your friends will miss you, too. Plan now to schedule a lunch-time reunion in a few months.

Tina said...

finding some time to relax is always a good idea..time to be reflective and the pic of the lake and reeds..:)

also loved the poem...connecting he's so's the foundation for everything!!

jason said...

Excellent post, Mary! This really touched me.

How often do we let opportunity slip by under the guise of having time later? Too often, I fear. We stay wrapped up in obligations and duties without really living. And really living is what makes it all matter. So I wonder, like you, how it gets away from us so quickly, so unnoticed, until it's too late...

Thank you for this!

NatureWoman said...

I hate missing someone when they're still there. Change is just so hard, sometimes. Your photos are so gorgeous! Relaxing sounds good to me.

Rose said...

I loved the poem, Mary--so true. When I retired it was my friends at work who I missed the most.
And I can so relate to those always postponed lunch plans--I think I am the Queen of Good Intentions:) I keep telling myself now to make time for what's important, because you never know what the future might bring. A little reflection time with the birds is always a good thing.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Talking about birds (or bugs) is the best. I loved seeing the blooms in your last post. I dream of seeing trees in seems as if it has been a long time since I have seen a bee in my backyard.

Kathie Brown said...

Mary, you are a pondside philosopher! Love the poem, and look at that sweet butter butt on the railing! (The bird, not you!)

RuthieJ said...

I had my "going away" potluck lunch at work today. Even though being at work is a "chore" on a lot of days, I realized there are so many great people there that I'm really going to miss. I got lots of hugs and managed to make it through the day without crying.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This is a great post to remind us to take time. Time is often so fleeting expecially when it comes to relationships.

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