I brought home my last load from the office on Wednesday and am starting to unpack and get things situated here at home. Plastic Jesus is sharing a cubby with Grandpa Tom’s wooden ruler.
More treasures from the office — A ruler from the pre-digital printing days.
Who knows how many years this ruler sat in the office of the Assistant Editor at Alive Now. When I arrived there in the 80’s the magazine was still being produced the old fashioned way. We sent the copy to the typesetters (amazing people who could key in strokes faster than anyone). The copy came back to us on really nice paper with the margins already set. These sheets were glued down on large sheets and marked up by the designer. The boards were then photographed and turned into plates that fit onto the printing press.
My job would be to read through the boards before they went to the production department and check the type and the instructions. That’s when I might use the ruler to try to imagine whether black words on an 80% screen of a color would be easy or hard to read.
I’m not remembering which was our first digitally-produced issue of the magazine. For a few years, the magazine was produced sometimes in the old way and sometimes in the new way. By the time the magazine was redesigned in the late 90’s, it was all digital production.
I loved the hands-on tasks of those early days of printing. And I’m so amazed to have gotten to see how much things have changed in technology since I started working at The Upper Room.
I remain deeply grateful for this wonderful work.
Related post: “Saying Goodbye to the Office.”
So many people have lost so much this year. I’ve been fortunate in many ways. I have kept my job. I’ve not lost any friends or family to this disease. And I’ve even thrived by being able to work from home. When, six weeks ago, we learned that we would be working from home permanently and would need to clean out our offices by the end of the year, the grief of this time of massive change really hit me.
I’ve had an office at 1908 Grand Avenue for over thirty years. As I’ve worked through the process of cleaning out, throwing away, digitizing, and packing, I’ve felt both deep loss and profound gratitude. The people with whom I have worked these years have shaped and formed me. The Holy One has guided my path through the most amazing jobs. I have not reached the end of this journey just yet, but things will never quite be the same again.
I’ve been taking photos of the treasures in my office as a way to help me remember the stories; as a way to help me let go of possessions. I’m hoping to share a few of these photos with you.
This plastic Sacred Heart of Jesus has been with me since before I started working at The Upper Room. It was a gift to me from friends celebrating my calling as I began Divinity School. We were at a camp in Colorado for some days of renewal. We ate together, laughed, and sat up late at night dreaming about how to change the injustices of the church. The presentation of this plastic Jesus to me was a lovely affirmation of my calling — and a reminder not to take myself too seriously.
Jesus has graced a shelf in all of the eight offices I’ve inhabited. Now Jesus will watch over me in my office here at home.
I am grateful.
P.S. Friends, The Upper Room is not closing. We are just going to be doing our work in a new way. The chapel is closed now because of Covid. Hopefully it will be open again after things are safe again.
I walked by
The last daisy bloom
In the garden at work.
No matter how I might resist,
The teachers say,
Do not resist. Accept.
But it’s so hard.
I am attached
To the way things are,
The people I see,
The world I know
(Or think I know).
What if I welcomed
The new, the different,
With the same energy that
See what is to come.
Look! I’m doing a new thing;
now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it?
I’m making a way in the desert,
paths in the wilderness.
– Isaiah 43:19, CEB