Our Constitutions direct us to “use those things entrusted to [us] carefully and in keeping with their purpose.”
This passage comes to mind on occasion as I carry out my work, and I try to follow it. It came to mind again this past week, this time in regard to my own attempts at cleanliness/ professionalism.
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I headed over to chapel early, as usual for a Thursday. I had my own private prayer, common Liturgy of the Hours, and sacristy duties to complete before coming to work at the front desk. Plus, this was my “week for liturgy,” which meant setting up books for visitors in chapel and picking songs for Mass.
Unfortunately, I had done neither of these tasks had I done ahead of time.
In the course of the early morning, I noticed that there was something amiss with the pen I was carrying in my pocket. Later, I also noticed that my hands were blackened. I wondered if the black nail polish I had used a couple months ago on my discolored breviary cover was coming off. That didn’t seem likely, though, after all these weeks had passed.
With my hurried, half-awake mentality, I simply washed my hands and finished what I needed to do before coming the front desk.
At some point, I finally made the connection: my hands were dirty from reaching in my pocket. My pen was “amiss” because the had become unscrewed there – it had leaked! You might say it exploded in my pocket!
As it would turn out, not only were the pen and my keys in the pocket this morning, but the space in my skirt was also shared temporarily by my magnetic name badge. Also, I carry a rosary, and it, too, was tarnished. I threw the culpable, dysfunctional pen out before it could do any more damage.
I vaguely remembered hearing that hairspray is supposed to be good for taking out ink; I confirmed this with two of my co-workers, recalling that I had a bottle of hairspray at home.
Actually, my novice mistress had given it to me years before, in case I might need it for any reason. The bottle was now almost empty, although I don’t remember the last time I’d used it.
It’s been a busy few days, but I finally got around to my ink removal efforts this afternoon. I hated to see my nice name badge ruined by ink spots and hoped the hairspray would live up to its reputation.
I applied it to the badge and remembered the soiled rosary as well. It worked pretty well, but it looked like the rosary looked like it could still stand a little help, so I sprayed it again with hairspray and left it to set awhile.
This evening, I rinsed it out again and draped it over the handle of a bathroom drawer to dry thoroughly.
Good thing the drawer was not explicitly “entrusted to me” because I don’t know that I was really using it “in keeping with its purpose,” either. However, I don’t think any harm will come to the drawer because of its unconventional use.
As I come and go, be it a busy Thursday morning or a quiet Sunday afternoon at the front desk, I pray that I use the life that’s entrusted to me “carefully,” in a way that will bring good to others.
I pray that, somehow, my little life can help others when things are amiss and make their days more bright and fresh.