the peace of hidden places

I have started and not finished a couple blog posts recently. There is much, so much to tell, but my internet time is ridiculously limited. And I spend it on KoL and keeping in touch with Dave, and am content. Maybe when I've successfully *left* the deli counter I can finally find a way to post things in my upcoming series "tales from the deli counter."

It's been almost six months, and I have finally reached the point where I am emotionally ready to leave.

Upstairs, behind the breakroom, there is a room where all the temperature control machinery flows. I've hung out there before, even played my guitar there once, but lately I have been sitting in there for a minute or so at the end of each shift. My heart knows it is time to begin the deep appreciation that comes before goodbye. Even though I have yet to actually find or get interviewed for another job, it's a fact that the decision to desire something makes one more effective at pursuing that thing. The magic of the decision rests in choosing the right moment.

The other day I was applying for a job online. It's a tedious process, since just about every company has their own website, and every website has a different application form into which a candidate must type his or her entire employment history. Typing it all in again brings back memories, of people I have known and buildings I have loved. Oh, granted, I love the people too. A building, though, you love in a different way.

People know they're interacting with you. They form opinions, make guesses, react to you, change their behavior based on how they perceive their relationship with you. This is a wonderful thing; from the process of getting to know people and be known by them, the whole rich symphony and dance of human life, sprung from passion and forged in necessity, emerges. It is exhausting, though. Some interactions fill you up emotionally, others wear you down. There's no predicting in advance which will be which, though you can hedge your bets a little by being bright and charming and easy to get along with. A building filled with machines, though, keeps right on being what it is, like a tree or a stone. Unlike a tree, though, it was built by humans for a purpose. And as long as people who understand that purpose expend their will and effort--even their love!--to keep it running, it will do what it is, be what it is, act out the essence of itself in every moment.

I like to sit in the machine room to listen. To feel in my bones the thrum of motors as the many strong pipes blast out cool, spread the chill that keeps food safe to eat, all through the departments of my store. I've looked at the pipes and I know some go to the deli, others to meat, some to produce, others to the frozen aisle, and I picture this river of cool branching out from that room, just as the electricity that keeps the lights on flows through different channels to keep all the lights burning. I listen to the song of the motors and it calms me, helps me think of the store as an organism in which moment-to-moment human uncertainties play a large role, a starring role, but cannot give life to the living thing that is a store all on our own.

To me a holy place is a place where things happen--specifically, things which change people's lives for the better. It's additive, cumulative, so a thousand little good things weigh in one sense, a few amazing good things weigh in another. Holy places which are unremarked, which don't attract attention, though, these I love for the peace I find in them. These are powerful metaphors for me for the parts of life, the parts of ourselves, which keep on working because they must, not because they are loudly praised. It brings me peace to love such places, to have had the opportunity to do so, even if I know that sooner or later I must leave them.