No, I’m not suggesting that you become a Buddhist or learn to meditate. Instead I’m suggesting you find a way to bring a bit of Zen acceptance of what is, into your life.
While managing a meeting house you have to accept that there will be days when:
- Someone thinks that pouring cornstarch and jelly into the toilet is a good idea, and is confused as to why this didn’t work as a disposal mechanism.*
- Someone decides your garden/doorstep/outside space is a toilet or a rough sleeping area causing disruption and upset to the others using the building.
- Someone discovers that the downstairs is completely flooded by the storm water coming up through the basement toilets to the level of several inches (and it is still raining hard).
- Someone takes out their frustration and anger at you for things that are outside your control, and you didn’t even know about.*
- Someone steals or breaks or loses items that are rather vital to the smooth running of the building – leaving you to deal with the fall out.
- Someone comes to ask deep questions about Quakerism and their own spiritual journey – while at least one of the above is also happening, leaving you to wonder about your own spiritual journey and nourishment.
It is very easy to become stressed and to feel as if running the building for the meeting is no longer a service offered with joy, but instead is a headache that you wish would go away.
It is at this time you should remember that Quaker Faith & Practice contains wisdom to cling to in difficult times:
A&Q 23: In times of difficulty remind yourself of the value of prayer, of perseverance and of a sense of humour.
Find a way forward that supports you and shares the stress of your trials and tribulations.
- Join the Wardenship e-list
- Attend a Wardens’ Talking event organised by Quaker Life
- Attend a Managing Your Meeting House event at Woodbrooke
- Set up a chance for all Premises members in your local area to get together to swap stories and best practice.
There is much to be said for the value of a well told story, to a nodding listener who understands the complexities of sharing a beloved building with the public, and that the most difficult users may attend on a Sunday morning…
To browse through all of the posts click on the Quaker A-Z link here or in the side bar.
*Messy play lead to messy toilet unblocking – which wasn’t helped by the glitter they’d included in both.
*My favourite of these is the person who was furious to discover that they’d been thinking it was Thursday all day and turned up for their class…. Which wasn’t on – as it was actually Wednesday, and blamed me for this. “You have ruined my evening!” I listened and said I was sorry for their disappointment.