I am homeless.
Wait… hold on… I need to quantify that extremely emotive sentence: I no longer have a dedicated desk at my work and am now, rather flippantly, considered ’homeless’.
I work as a Business Analyst in Glasgow… and recently changed my reporting line. The upside of this is my ability to take time off between Christmas and New Year… the downside is losing my dedicated desk… a desk with a view albeit one of Glaswegian rooftops and one roof in particular… the one some colleague’s call the “lover’s lane” for pigeons!
I don’t really mind losing my physical desk. Yes, I no longer have a space for my vast collection of Starbucks memorabilia or the other ephemera that has collected like debris in a bottlenecked river. And yes, I no longer have the space to fill with single-use paper. I have had to downsize and now work out of a single Eastpak briefcase… carefully choosing what I *need* printed.
I have my Lenovo Thinkpad T410… my phone… various notebooks and my ’hipster PDA’ GTD tool. I am a digital nomad… a manifestation of the knowledge economy… a 21st Century customer-focussed bottomline-obsessed hot-desking Bedouin.
The fact I have been forced to downsize my work life and clear my clutter is a blessing. I love the fact I can work from one case. I’m no longer solely concerned with whether or not my case will fit in the overhead lockers of trains… I’m concerned with my ability to fit the case into the locker provided in my workplace. I have gone from a dedicated desk to a locker… a locker I share with another Bedouin colleague.
The change has been of physical benefit for me… after 16 years (5 doing the job I currently do) I have picked up a whole heap of crap… and I am grateful to “Zen Habits” for the life-lessons in getting my act together.
The change, however, has been less positive to my mental state and, dare I say, my productivity. I am an extrovert… with some introverted tendencies… and I like to be surrounded by people. I like to be surrounded by a buzz and to be distracted… when I want to be distracted… with the latest idea or innovation. I am a neophiliac in that regard. I miss the buzz and the banter of a tight team… one who have spent time together… who know each other well and work well together.
I am no longer able to sit with the core team… as I once did. I now play the role of consultant… embedding myself with the people I am to work with and consult. Don’t get me wrong… I love my job. OK… I like it a lot. I guess it is the people who make my job what it is.
Home is therefore more about the people than the place. Yes there is something to be said about the comfort of familiar things… but my ’familiar things’ are portable. People aren’t things… people are far more than that… they are an end in and of themselves.
As a Digital Disciple I need to learn this lesson. I need to see ’new and shiny’ in people. I need to learn to practice presence… of being present rather than just giving presents… and not just physical presents but the digital presents of a shared link or a witty tweet or even an insightful blogpost on an awesome blog like “big bible”.
I have to ask myself… am I using the digital tools at my fingertips to be present in the lives of the people God has entrusted me with pastoring? It’s all fine and well to share the latest blogpost or cat-encrusted meme… but if I do this to the detriment of missing the hurt a friend is experiencing then I have failed as a participant in missio dei.
In the words of Ferris Bueller… “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Let’s stop staring at the screens we stare at… including the one you are, ironically, reading this post on… and start staring into the eyes of the people entrusted to us. Yesterday was my 15 year wedding anniversary… and I did just that. That said… if I didn’t my wife would have killed me!
As the Desiderata reminds us… “with all it’s shams, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.” It would be a shame to miss it… and an all-out tragedy to let the people in our life experience this life… their life… our life without us.
Let’s be in this world but not of it… by being in it but not of it.
It’s time to close down and open up.