Tuesday, December 2, 2014

McOffice



Last school year began a new adventure for me.  For the first time all five of my kids are in school all day.  Such a strange experience after 12 years of having kids at home with me every day; so strange that I often daydream about homeschooling!  

The other new phenomenon about this past year is I have been working.  I have been blessed with a job I can do from home.  I write for an online curriculum company (articles, press releases, ad copy, blog posts – whatever they need!) and I put my teaching certification to good use in their online school.  This computer-based job allows me the flexibility to drive my kids to/from school and be there enough that the school secretary once said to me, “You must feel like you live here!”  I have a rare and wonderful boss who understands about sick kids and field trips and truly allows me to give my family priority above work.

I say I do this job from home, but I learned early on it’s not easy to work at home!  At home I have another fulltime job that vies for my attention.  Sometimes when I sit down to work the laundry calls my name, the dishes demand attention.  There is the menu to plan and the subsequent groceries to list.  Oh, and that one closet is still not unpacked and organized from our move a year and half ago!  I try to tackle house and home before focusing on work but with only mixed success.

One thing I found helpful was to go someplace where I could focus without distraction.  We have wonderful libraries in our city where there is wifi and a quiet atmosphere and not one bath tub that really needs to be scrubbed!  The other place I go is my McOffice.  It is just around the corner from the school.  With wifi and unlimited coffee or tea for a dollar, I frequent the place about once a week.  I accomplish a lot in just a couple of hours!  Granted, it’s not the studious setting of the library, but the “buzz” becomes a backdrop I can work with quite easily.

So the first time I tried out McOffice, I got there early, right after dropping my kids at school.  I found a little table clear in the back where the restaurant was empty.  I fired up my laptop and got to work.  I soon learned, though, that I was sitting in claimed territory!  Gentlemen of “a certain age” began trickling in and taking up the spots around me.  The daily coffee clutch was called to order!  They asked after one another’s health and about wives (those whose wives were still living).  They talked about fishing and the weather and current events.  They complained about doctors and knew exactly how Obama should handle the crisis at hand.  Most are veterans.  They politely included me in their conversation, asking what I was working on. 

One gentlemen, a Mr. Lee Law, got up and came over to where I was sitting.  We chatted a bit. 

“I sense you’re a believer,” Mr. Law said.                                                                              

“Yes,” confirming my belief in God and connection to him through Jesus.

“I also sense that I should pray for you.  Would you mind?” he ventured.

This wasn’t the clich├ęd “I’ll pray for you” that is so readily tossed about, meaning at some later time if I remember.  He meant at that moment.  Right there. 

“Sure.”  I said, perhaps a little tentatively.

He put his hand on my shoulder and prayed aloud.  And would you believe the things he spoke in that prayer addressed the very needs of my heart?  At its close I was soul-touched and teary-eyed.

That was on my first visit to McOffice.  Going almost weekly, I felt a little like one of the group.  I have always had high regard for that generation (Brokaw got it right when he called it the greatest generation) and besides, now that I’m in my 40s, any setting in which I’m the young pup is a good place to be!  In November I invited anyone that needed a place to come to our house for Thanksgiving.  (I told Todd that day, “Hey – I invited all the guys from the office for Thanksgiving!”)  They all had plans already. 

Then in February Mr. Law, who had prayed for me and always took time to talk with me morning I worked there, told me he had been diagnosed that past week with cancer.  It was in his lungs, brain, and liver.  He knew the outlook was not good.  He said he knew he didn’t have long. 


Being the kind that often wears my heart on my sleeve, he could tell his news saddened me.  He quickly said something along the lines of, “Don’t be sad for me!  I have had a good life.  Now it’s time to finish the race.  Lots of people have lots to say about living well, but few people talk about dying well.”  The next I saw him he asked about me and my family as he always did.  I asked about his health.  He talked about treatment options and how his family was taking the prognosis. 

I only saw him one more time after that.  He didn’t look well that day.  I followed his example and prayed for him then and there.  The next time I was at McOffice, “the guys” told me Mr. Law had passed away.  I looked up his obituary.  He had died March 13,, 2014. 

I had wanted a picture of him for this post.  There was not a picture with the obituary so I found him on facebook.  Here was his last post:


 


A new day in which given to serve the Son most high God. I remember reading as Christ carried His cross down the Via Della Rosa how He become so fatigued and a man was picked to carry it for Him, the Jesus Cross. Not many of us get that opportunity to help carry the cross. To step up or not. I choose to step up for my Lord and God.
Going shopping today and also pay a few bills. Get out into the fresh air.


Stepping up.  Stepping out.  I saw that in action.  His willingness to pray for a complete stranger, the way he reached out with care to anyone around him - Mr. Law was on the lookout for ways to encourage, ways to help.  I only knew him a brief time but that is the legacy impressed upon me.

Keeping to yourself is certainly more comfortable and convenient, but where is the adventure in that?!  Instead reaching out to others can turn even a McOffice into an extraordinary encounter.

Dedicated to the memory of LeRoy Law March 29, 1938 - March 13, 2014 ~ Airman, father, grandfather, rehab counselor, hunter, fisher, and ready to be a friend to anyone.  So glad God saw fit to allow our paths to cross, Mr. Law!