Playground Story on Patience

There’s a story of three parents at a playground watching their kids and how they each respond (or react) when their kids slip or fall.

Hearing that their child slipped and fell, the first parent runs frantically to see the child.  In panic mode, the parent smothers the child and takes them away from the playground.

The second parent hears the cry of the child and doesn’t move from the bench.  They’re too preoccupied and comes across cold and distant.  The child is left to comfort themselves.

The third parent calmly goes to assist the child and asks in a warm tone, “Sweety, what happened?  Let’s see where it hurts.”  She holds him for a few minutes and then says, “Are you ready to go back out and play?”  The child looks up, nods his head, and runs back out to play.

I’ve thought about this as a parent, but also when I have tough and hard times in my life.  James, one of the early church pastors and fathers, says that when we experience hardship, we are to be like the third parent who turns to Our Heavenly Father for comfort, patience, and wisdom.  We pray for the gift of faith to see how God might be with us, instructing, guiding, and providing.  Like the third parent, God also is compassionate and patient with us.

When hardships come, we can panic, shut down, turn a problem into a crisis, or remain patient as we seek wisdom.  I’ve chosen all of the above.  My prayer has been that as I get older, I remain calm and patient through the storm.  I pray, talk to Christina, seek out trusted friends, and ask for support.  Doing life with a spiritual community of support has been a huge advantage in life.

St. James invites us to be people of faith:  look up to Our Heavenly Father and look away from self (which tends to over-react, shut down, or make mountains).  As look up, may God grant wisdom and patience in abundance.

#LilacFire Update and Coping with Crisis

Lilac Fires 2017

Hoehn Community:

Yesterday Bonsall, Fallbrook, Oceanside, Pala, and Murrietta were affected by the #LilacFire.  Many of our employees live in mandatory or voluntary evacuation areas.  Some have evacuated and are staying with friends or family members, where they are safe.  Others are staying home, hoping the fires are contained and don’t spread.  To my knowledge, none of our employees have lost their homes.

*The fire is currently at 4100 acres and has not spread since last night.  The biggest concerns are strong winds heading west (towards the ocean) and dry conditions.

*Many first responders and news outlets are urging people to evacuate if they feel like they are in harm’s way.  Safety is of first priority.

Below are some helpful tips for crisis planning and crisis support.  

Please let me know if there are any employees who are in need of follow-up care and support.  I have already seen how Hoehn Employees are reaching out to one another with encouragement and support.  Keep it up!  You’re shining bright.

Peace,

Chaplain Roy

———-

*The following has been helpful for those in evacuation areas:

  • Pack some clothing for a few days
  • Pack a sleeping bag/blankets/pillows
  • Make sure you have your important documents (especially passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, insurance information)
  • Take pictures of your belongings
  • Make sure your gas tank is full
  • Have cash on hand
  • Pack your chargers for phones/laptops to stay connected when possible for latest updates
  • Make sure you have your prescribed medications on hand
  • Reach out to friends and family for a place to stay and for support

During a Natural Disaster Crisis

Upon hearing the initial news, it is normal to feel disoriented, confused, or intense emotions (i.e. sad, irritated, fearful, anxious) and things may seem unclear.  It is very important to have a plan of safety during this time so that you can make the best decisions possible.  Remember that safety is key.

A Few Coping Tips

  • Plan:  Stay focused on the present and what is being asked of you.  In my case, our family is in the evacuation warning area.  Our cars are packed with the above items and some other personal belongings.  We have a few places to retreat to if needed. We are also following live updates on social media (see below for resources)
  • Normalize:  It is normal to feel a sense of loss, even though they might have lost their home.  Being displaced from your home and your regular routine can cause a sense of loss and people will fill a bit “off”.  That is normal.  We can help by staying focused on the present and safety as the primary goal.
  • Encourage:  Communicate encouragement, empowerment, and build confidence in those who are experiencing crisis.
  • Community Support:  Reach out to your community of support (family, friends, religious community).
  • Pray with another and for the first responders.
  • Reassurance:  Be reassured that what you’re feeling is normal and that you will be able to work through the situation.
  • Educate yourself with the latest updates on the status of the fires
  • Awareness:  Be aware of how and your family members are feeling in order to normalize what is happening.  (Example:  Last night, my son’s were nervous.  We reassured them that we had a plan if we needed to evacuate.  We gave them a hug and kiss good night and they fell asleep).
  • Take breaks from the news:  Make some time to be with your friends and family and take breaks from keeping track of the fires.  Hug your kids.  Grab a cup of coffee.  Have lunch or dinner with friends.  This will take a few weeks to subside.

Helpful Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/sandiegocounty/

https://twitter.com/CALFIRESANDIEGO

 

 

Peace,

Roy Inzunza

A Reflection on Death, Abundance, and Compassion

Today’s scripture readings have a few themes:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/120617.cfm

  1.  Death
  2.  Abundance
  3.  comfort/compassion

Death

In my late 20’s and early 30’s, I struggled with panic attacks.  I had an immense amount of anxiety about dying.  This manifested itself in different ways, mostly through a fear of getting sick or having a heart attack.  A few factors contributed that I could think of.  One, I was a new father.  We had Christopher and David a year apart and I was pretty nervous about not being present or available to them.  This had symbolic meaning to me as a fear of abandonment.  I didn’t want to abandon my kids and see them struggle without a father and I also had to cope with my own fears of being left fending for myself.  Two, I was just starting to work as a corporate chaplain and the stories I was hearing were very overwhelming.  Three, lack of self care.  I wasn’t eating, sleeping, or exercising very well.  The result?  Panic attacks.  

Here’s what helped me:  

  1. Talking with a therapist.  I was able to talk about the pain of being abandoned and how much it hurt.  It helped me realize that, while I felt abandoned, I could learn new ways of parenting myself so that I’d know that I can handle whatever life might throw my way.  In spiritual terms, I learned that I was never alone and that the Higher Power (Jesus) would be with me.  Growing up latino and in a pentecostal home, seeing a therapist was a taboo because we were taught that we really didn’t “trust God”.  That was nonsense!  🙂
  2. Self-care.  For me, this meant getting 8 hours of sleep, staying away from fast food and greasy food, and cycling.  I took up road biking, lost 20 lbs, and felt great. I also started making time to take regular retreats throughout the year.  I have to plan them in advance and then stick to them.
  3. Community.  I needed more friends in my life that I could go to eat with, go to concerts, and just be silly and laugh.  I needed connection and deep friendships.  

Abundance

We grew up with not a lot of money so I developed a fear of not having enough.  It’s driven many of my financial decisions.  But as I think about life and God, the scripture is clear that God thinks in terms of abundance, not scarcity.  I’m not talking about or promoting a “prosperity gospel” where abundance is the sign that God loves you and that you are more special than others.  But God does care about abundance and wants to lack no good thing.  I’d be very wary if someone used this to try and make a case for materialism or consumerism.  That’s just bad theology.  I’m talking about being able to have an attitude and heart that is at rest with what we have and isn’t ruled by “stuff”.  Fear of not having can be very costly.  And it usually doesn’t get us what we really want. 

Comfort/Compassion

In each reading, there is provision and comfort for the hungry, the needy, and the sick.  Death is overcome.  Sickness is healed.  And there is a feast of table for all people.  Jesus has compassion on the crowd.  Some are sick.  Others are hungry.  We read about a God who cares about the daily stuff, about the burdens that we carry.  He is not a god who sits by idly.  Jesus is engaged with the people and is about making wrongs right.  

I’m not sure I wholeheartedly believe that God is that compassionate.  I feel like have to earn his abundance and comfort.  I feel like if I don’t perform well as a disciple, I will be mistreated.  When I feel this way, I look at a picture of my sons or a picture of “little Roy” and imagine how much God loves us.  I want to trust that love from a Heavenly Father who is in heaven, and yet breaking into my world to transform my heart and mind.  This the concept of grace at work.  This energy, favor, love that God bestows is His hearts’ disposition.  

Questions for Reflection

*What are you most afraid of these days?  Can you tell God about it?

*Where do you feel like you are lacking?  Ask the Great Shepherd to lead you beside still waters and restore your soul.  

*How might God want to comfort you today?  Tell him where the pain is.

Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name.
May your new life fill us afresh.
May you cause to see how you are abundant in our lives.
May you have compassion on us.

Amen

A Prayer of Desire by Thomas Merton

Source:

A Prayer of Desire by Thomas Merton

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

 

Re-Post: Seven Toxic Bosses You Should Avoid Like the Plague

This is a re-post from an article sent to me.  It was so good that I’ve had it opened on my browser for three days!  By chance, I sat at a gathering of pastors today where the #1 issue that ministry leaders face is “feeding the monster” (i.e. focusing on administrative, financial, budgetary, organizational tasks…instead of fostering relationships and mentorship).

source (full article):  https://goo.gl/pNSvLm

Difficult bosses contaminate the workplace. Some do so obliviously, while others smugly manipulate their employees. The “bad boss” has become a comedic part of work culture, permeating movies and television, but when you actually work for one, there’s nothing funny about it.

Bad bosses cause irrevocable damage by hindering your performance and creating unnecessary stress. The stress they create is terrible for your health. Multiple studieshave found that working for a bad boss increases your chance of having a heart attack by as much as 50%.

Even more troubling is the number of bad bosses out there. Gallup research found that 60% of government workers are miserable because of bad bosses. In another study 69% of US workers compared bosses with too much power to toddlers with too much power. The comparisons don’t stop there. Significant percentages of US workers describe their bosses as self-oriented (60%), stubborn (49%), and overly demanding (43%).

Most bosses aren’t surprised by these statistics. A DDI study found that 64% of managers admit that they need to work on their management skills. When asked where they should focus their efforts, managers overwhelmingly say, “Bringing in the numbers”; yet, they are most often fired for poor people skills.

 

 

transformative leaders

We have constructed a way of leadership that is distant from others, believing that leading others is a one way street.  But transformative leaders make themselves transparent to others so that both are inspired towards growth.  

I know this leader who has snacks in her office.  Everyone goes to see Teri because they’re hungry throughout the day.  She will say, “Have something to eat, son” and after a few minutes of the employees eating, they start sharing their work and life struggles.  She just listens as they both snack and tell stories.  Teri might offer a story of her own experiences and then as they’re wrapping up, the employee will thank Teri and off they go.  Most employees describe Teri as one of the best managers to work for.  Why?  Because she cares.  Teri makes herself a vulnerable leader–who is not afraid to listen and learn from others.  I should also note that Teri’s department is constantly breaking records in her department.  

Healthy Communication: What do I say?… How do I say it?

by Rafee Jajou

Rafee serves as the employee staff care lead at Christian Bros and provides a pastoral presence in La Mesa.  He is a partner with Squarepatch (an employee care service).  He’s also my homie and good friend!


I was raised in a home with a lot of unhealthy communication. Shaming and blame was almost a weekly occurrence. Fear and love were always in a battle. For many of us, we may have learned from childhood what we don’t want in our own relationships and family life. Unfortunately we still inherit some unhealthy ways, and these can even affect our workplace too.

I’m taking an online seminar in healthy boundaries and communication. There are some key ideas that could help any situation where there’s a need for healthy communication. There are 3 main ways of communicating: Passive, Assertive, Aggressive.

Myth: The primary goal in communication is agreeing.
Truth: Priority #1– Our first goal in communication is to understand the other person, regardless if we agree or disagree with someone.

When we listen well and ask questions, we can see what is going on from their viewpoint…

  • If that isn’t the goal, then we’re starting off on the wrong foot and there will eventually be a break-down in communication.
  • We must seek to communicate what’s going on inside of us, and not to assume what’s going on inside of someone else. Our job is to help someone understand us, and ask someone to help us better understand them.
  • Listening well and seeking understanding sends the message, “You matter to me,” and decreases anxiety in the moment.

Communication Styles:

  • A healthy communicator is an assertive communicator. They require people’s respect, and others to manage themselves (be self-controlled) in any given relationship.
  • The passive communicator sends the message “Your needs matter; mine don’t”. They might say things like, “Fine. Whatever you want. Don’t worry about me.”
  • The aggressive communicator believes, “I matter; you don’t”. Fear and intimidation are used to communicate their needs.
  • A passive-agressive communicator sends the message, “You matter… no, not really.” They use sarcasm, innuendos, veiled threats, and manipulation to communicate their needs.
  • Assertive communicators send the message: “You matter and so do I”. They require conversations to involve two self-controlled people. They say things like “I’d be glad to listen as long as this conversation is respectful”, or “I will take you out to the ball game as soon as you’re done with ______.”

So Assertive communication is what we’re practicing and aiming for because it respects the power of both sides and invites growth and trust.

Four Company Pillars

Companies have foundational pillars that sustain them.  When one of these pillars is not functioning properly, it affects the others.  Here are some pillars:

  1. pillar of culture – values, practices, habits, stories, the felt experience, clarity vision/mission, morale
  2. pillar of leadership – who is leading, how are they influencing others, quality of leader
  3. pillar of competency – the actual skillset, qualifications to the do the work, quality of work, strengths, assets
  4. the team – employee base, morale, attitudes, work ethic

If one of these pillars is crumbling, it will be felt within the company.  But when all four are strong, the customer will feel it.  Imagine a company working to strengthen each of these pillars.  It would be an exciting place to be.  The company, employees, and customer would flourish.

Don’t Waste The Pain

“Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance. Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance. You’re going to confuse, piss off, and terrify lots of people— including yourself. One minute you’ll pray that the transformation stops, and the next minute you’ll pray that it never ends. You’ll also wonder how you can feel so brave and so afraid at the same time. At least that’s how I feel most of the time… brave, afraid, and very, very alive. Rising strong is the final piece of this transformation.”

– Brene Brown

I’m thinking of the young man (it could easily be a woman) in his 20’s (maybe even 30s) who is trying to get his life together after making a lot of personal mistakes.  He feels like a failure, alone, and abandoned.  He may even be angry at the world for the bag he was given.

What you’ve been through is not fair.  The upbringing was rough…it wasn’t your fault.  And yet this is what you have to come to grips with.  You’ll need a lot of support, care, and love.  There will be days when you can’t make sense of the deep pain you feel in your heart.

Your greatest choice today is to live as one who is willing to rise strong, WITH all the anxiety and stress.  The gift of strength is for you to reclaim who you long to be.  It’s unsettling, uncomfortable, and necessary.  You must remember that you are the beloved!  That is your real identity and at the core of who you are.

You’ll need community, care, and courage.  You’ll need a power bigger than you.

And as a friend once said, don’t waste the pain.  I’m not sure what exactly that means.  But I’m starting to understand that with each set of waves (of pain), there is an opportunity to keep rising, growing, and being transformed.