in which karen ponders aloud having a gun to fix meeting problems

Posted: March 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

I sat at my City Clerk’s desk along the side of City Council Chambers, taking notes and making sure the sound recorder was properly set up.  I hated Council meetings – my resentment generally started a good hour before the meeting ever did.  The Chief of Police sat in the next desk.  I would watch him, read him as the meeting went on.  He’d start out sitting up straight, composed, professional, reasonably relaxed.  Then the meetings would get the way the meetings almost invariably got – argumentative and petty and redundant and nonproductive and long, long, looooong – and he’d start shifting in his seat restlessly, twitching, and the easygoing smile would change to an expression of longsuffering. 

I had a running joke with him and with my coworkers about that.  Back before I was City Clerk, I had been made a Deputy Clerk so that I could serve in the Clerk’s place.  Getting deputized involved raising my right hand and swearing an oath.  The day that I swore my oath, with visions of Barney Fife in my head (oops just lost all the 20somethings on THAT geezer reference!) I asked afterward:  “If I am a deputy, where is my gun?!”  It was a poor joke at best, and then I beat it to death by returning to it incessantly.  Every meeting week, I would say to someone or the other, “I could solve this problem of the way the meetings go, if they’d just give me my gun.  Aren’t I a deputy, after all?!” 

My favorite council member during my term of service hadn’t wanted to run for office at all.  He was a nurse practitioner whose friends and neighbors had pressed him into service.  He was there not because he had sought power or prestige or votes, but because he believed in serving his community.  I think he hated the meetings at least as much as I did.  But he was a breath of fresh air in the room, speaking words of reconciliation and trying to encourage his fellow council members to do something productive, rather than just fighting amongst themselves. 

So much of life is about intention.  Why am I doing what I am doing?  Is it because *I should*?  Because I need to be in control?  Because I have a reputation to protect?  Because I am running from my past, or even from who I am now?  Because I need to please others?  Because I need to silence others? 

Whether in government, at work, in church, or just out there in the world in general, I have a supreme fondness for those who are moved by passion – even when sometimes their passion causes them to behave in ass-like ways.  People who are moved to serve even at expense to themselves, who are trying to follow that line attributed to Ghandi, I think, that goes something like “BE the change you wish to see in the world.”  People who are willing to leverage whatever power they might have for causes like peace and reconciliation. 

We all know petty, tiny people.  Power grabbers.  Manipulators.  Game players.  People who can’t feel like they are okay unless they are standing on someone’s neck.  People who seem to be specially genetically engineered for “argument only” function.  Hope stealers.  Soul suckers.  The change that they make in the world is a temporary ripple of irritation, chaos, strife, and hopelessness wherever they may go. 

There but for the grace of God go I.  Yeah, in my life I’ve done time as the mean one, the arguer, the baleful glare. Not on a great, grand stage like City Council Chambers, but in smaller settings where perhaps lives were shaped and changed – NOT for the better – by it.  I’ve experienced just enough of it to know how to pray for those who are doing more than just a short stint in that zone – those for whom those ways seem inextricably intertwined with their personalities and even their very existence. 

I wonder what might have been possible, had I prayed passionately for the entire Council while I sat there taking minutes of the ridiculous arguments and lack of progress that transpired. 

I wonder what might be possible, if I were to choose today to pray passionately for those in my world, whether intimately or just scrolling across the media as I watch. 

I wonder what would happen, if I would get past my need to have an opinion about every  pain in the butt person in my world.  If I would just pray for them as passionately as I’m given to bitching about them.

I wonder what would happen if ALL of us who wear the name of Christ would do that.

Seems like it could be a world changer, eh?

Think there’s any danger of that ever happening?


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