Welcoming #spring at the cemetery

Maple Lawn Cemetery

I’m a groundskeeper by trade.  At the end of last year, I ambitiously subscribed to the email newsletter Publishous.  Each issue is a collection of articles on Medium, with subjects such as productivity, and also Christianity, and including those untold here, a nice mix.

Publishous also spotlights writers and offers insight into how writers can create on par with the writers on Medium.  Medium is great because you respond to articles that move you with claps, as many of which as you want to applaud the article.  With your Medium membership, you can also follow specific contributors whose work you want to know about right away.

I enjoy the odd book bringing up self-management.  I look at ideas of that kind on Publishous.  I was pleased to see Publishous’ newsletter today, published yesterday, highlighting the spring season now that March is here.  


Photographer:
Burst

I don’t think Publishous is aware of me, other than that I subscribe, as there are several thousand subscribers.

Publishous readers are evaluating what they are doing in the month of March.  For my cemetery job, we will tend to the grounds soon, by collecting fallen tree limbs and wrapping up the majority of our activities inside the church, which is where we make our efforts in winter.

Eventually, the grass will grow, and we’ll start to take care of getting that cut.  We usually work once a week on the cemetery grounds.

I’m not aiming to write for Medium, but I like the specific design of the Publishous newsletter.  I am turning forty-two this month, and I am thinking about Lent and Catholic worship.  Years ago, in the 2000s, I read the first book by the American writer and pop psychologist, the Women are from Mars, Men are from Venus author John Gray.

Gray’s first book is What You Feel, You Can Heal.  It says turning forty-two graduates an individual from being a caretaker to being part of a community.  I’d direct you to that specific book if you are interested in the idea.

It is, in Gray’s estimation, a sequence of the seven years of one’s life, between the ages of forty-two and forty-nine, that one sees in his life the influence of community upon him.

I don’t think there are many guarantees in life, but we have, as the next seven years begin, the outlook of keeping organized a little cemetery.

Louth United Church

The work I do, the most distinctive work I do, is to help a small cemetery and to do odd jobs around the church that is on the property.  I am also an SMM–I do a blog which I connect now and then to the work I carry out on the cemetery grounds.  This is the site you’re on.

Our website with specifics about the cemetery is www.maplelawncemetery.org and the menu of pages you can choose from when visiting this is to the right.

I am also curious about the group of bloggers which who explore “tea parties” that assemble participants into thinking about what the hostess of the tea parties has suggested for the month of March.  You can find the tea party hostess’ site at https://www.thelittlemermaid.site/

You’re welcome to like, comment, and/or follow, if you are interested in what’s going on.

We’re on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited and posts include photos and links to articles which could be of interest.  It is a small page, but the people are good.  The tone of the feedback I receive from people following the page helps me decide what will be well-received and what won’t (what to avoid).  All of this I practice as a skill set.

Mermaid’s February 2019 WordPress Tea Party

The very courteous Little Mermaid returns, for another tea party. Her theme, this month, is making confessions. The tell I want to bring, to the party, is how roadblocked, I’ve been, by Zork.

I know I am in a sense very old. Have you played Zork? It’s a game where you explore a dungeon and combat monsters.

Your commands for playing Zork typically consist of two words apiece, often a verb and a noun, short and sweet.  It commands hours of your time if you are among the dedicated.

Did you run Java? It once boasted a solid three billion devices did. I’d sit, sometimes, on the main page of a Java site, to read chat remarks.


Photographer:
Elliott Chau

In college, a savvy young woman from Scarborough got to know me a little. Her name was Julie, and she was a singer. I’m sure she knew nothing about Zork.

All the same, Julie was outright a rock star on Livejournal. Her email was routed by beer.com, appropriately fashionable for that subculture.

When she wrote, ”it’s called myspace, and there are millions of brilliant people,” I was taken aback. I’d played Zork, in a retro edition. Facing the myspace site, I had a silent question.

“How do I move to the next room?” It was weird. Years later, Christmas, 2016, my very smart nephew referred to that, nonsense in the distant past.

I remember, because of Rogue One, a Star Wars Story. About IRC, “Justacrap,” my brother’s boy pronounced with scorn. Discounting me?

For wasting time with websites? Can you believe that? Sure, I made friends one way or another, but those people are now gone.

It wasn’t the sum of my activities, I guess. Truth be told, I was rotten at Zork, too.

The tea parties are great. You can find that blog here: https://thelittlemermaid09.wordpress.com

How Struggles Can Make You Sick

Abandoned supermarket cart

Too much stress, “bad” stress, can weaken you, deplete your resources and waste scarce time if you are not dealing with your lifestyle well.  Everybody endures stress.

 

Getting older, I believe that lifestyles of Generation Z are significantly common, but I am from a small town.  It is important to obey the Biblical commandment, to honor thy mother and father.  As the father did before you, if you are of a certain age, you too need to heed that you are following appropriately in his steps.

 

That being said, there is lightness.  I think with a touch of envy of the comparative ease of the generation of young people often collectively referred to as Generation Z.  That doesn’t mean that I can compete with the energy of the young and of the attitudes which characterize them, different than for someone my age.

 

Someone like me, I feel, is part of a culture that values stress, that putting a great deal of work into a lifetime is a necessity.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

 

Abandoned supermarket cart
Shopping cart

However, it means fulltime people endure an enormous amount of stress.  The more hours of work we take on, to make ends meet, the more stress we cope with.

 

I believe stress can easily bend one to its will rather than the other way round.  It is all very hard to manage.

 

In the film sequence preceding the climax of the 1978 feature film Superman, Lex Luthor conquers Superman with a chain of Kryptonite, until Superman makes a personal promise to Luthor’s beautiful assistant in order that she remove the powerful amulet–but a promise that puts at risk the woman who has his heart, Lois Lane.  All in all, it is an excellent film.

 

What I did, in my life, is an irregular passage through the years.  In 2008 when my employer closed its doors, I went on to work a part-time job while reflecting on what to do with my future  Then I went full time on government disability, as it was felt that I’d been “compromised” enough to give up on making a living through the avenue of work.

 

I had been reading some books on self-management and I didn’t think the stress of a new workplace was going to benefit me enough to do it.

 

A few years later, my father, perhaps frustrated by my reluctance, had an idea.  He was retiring from many years with a municipal cemetery, where he’d helped manage it from its offices.

 

A small cemetery in our town was searching for new operators.  It attracted him, and the trustees of that property were pleased to turn it over to him, so that he could direct it, pleased to have a focus in his retirement.

 

To my surprise, my dad invited me to help handle the operation of the cemetery.  We commenced in 2011.  The church at the cemetery, formerly of the United Church of Canada, had disbanded in 2006.

 

Headstones under repair
Important headstones of family generations in Maple Lawn Cemetery

We maintain the property ourselves, and work in the interior of the church in dire weather, setting our sights on attending to the cemetery once a week.  We made a not-for-profit out of it.  While I am junior, and there is no certainty how matters will proceed, in the seven years or so, lucky seven, that we’ve handled the cemetery, it has been a luxury of time and experience for me and an opportunity to enjoy the company of my father in his golden years.

 

We have had outside help from brothers of my father, my uncles.   On a few brief occasions we have talked about growth, but I don’t know if I can turn this venture into something in which I can continue in the long-term.  This post is intended to be expository writing, but working for a not-for-profit, when financial gains are generally hard-won, can lead to burnout, and to a minor degree that is what I am experiencing.

 

You see, I contribute several hours a week of work to the cemetery, and as my dad has spoken reassuringly of the flexibility to set our own hours, I have lately started to reduce my workload to a four-day week rather than a five-day.

 

I can’t help, for example, but want to relax on Saturday.  I think the decision to work less on Fridays is somewhat deleterious in that if you want to get ahead, you should probably be hustling with the same energy on a Friday that you do on a Monday.

 

I couldn’t help, in the past several weeks, to admit that the stress of putting nonprofit work at the center of my life, was making me feel a touch sick, by which I mean I was experiencing burnout.  I am sure this is common.

 

Dimensions: 5456 x 3632
Photographer: Ylanite Koppens

Whether this transition, to four days of focus on the cemetery rather than on each and every business day, will contribute to a soul-searching decision by my dad to relieve me of my work, I don’t know.  I think what will determine my chances of staying on are the quality of work I can produce in the time I devote to the not-for-profit.

 

How this has me feeling, perhaps, “sick,” is that I do care about working and I do feel some prestige enjoying the privilege of doing work that is shaped by our own efforts.  This is in contrast to working for a firm that is structured in predictable ways, with employee equity and positions and demands which could easily contribute to a high-stress load.

 

I am taking this risk because I believe I can do better work if I make strategies to cope with the burnout before there are related consequences.  I am counting on my own experience and abilities to do the same quality of work in a four-day structure than I would be getting done by committing the entirety of the work week to headway and progress.

 

I am sick to think of losing what I have worked for, and I am sick to think of bringing shame onto my father if the quality of my work does suffer because I am having trouble being afield of all that we do.  I feel like I should write something about feeling troubled by what I have to do to manage my role as operator, and maybe even think on how I could express an appropriate apology for how I am feeling.

 

Writing is the act of discovery. – Natalie Goldberg

 

Dimensions: 4635 x 3090
Photographer: Freestocks.org

If my father does finally decide, which I know he won’t do lightly, that I should be dismissed, it will be a sad day and for that, I will pay a price, of having the failure on my shoulders.  If that scenario comes to pass I will take time to mend.  It may be a self-centered attitude, but the best that can be done in the face of failure is to learn from what happened.

 

Everyone has experienced failure, and usually many, many times, sometimes with adverse consequences.

 

If you have never failed, you have stayed well inside your comfort zone.  Life needs to change and grow.

 

If my role in the not-for-profit does end in failure, I will at least have work experience.  I think I can draw on the time spent at this to draw conclusions that will inform my life in the future.  The situation that I think could result, however, is not going to be completely ideal.

 

It will be back to being “sick,” resorting to making ends meet with the help of a pension for disability, and with the support of my mom and dad.  Ain’t no one got time for that.  I will have then have the opportunity to look for a job if I feel I can weather the stress, or return to freelancing and try to find my niche doing that.

 

Dimensions: 2500 x 1995
Photographer: Rawpixel.com

Many members of Generation Z work as freelancers in the digital economy, and I would be competing with all of those people, which is daunting.  That being said, there are a few paths ahead for me to take and I will have to ask for guidance from fate and the intentions of The Lord.  I know I shouldn’t emphasize feeling sick about all this and I know I shouldn’t take on a job post that gives me more additional stress than I can handle.

 

For now, I will bide my time–for as much clarity as I can muster.

 

You are welcome to like, follow, and/or comment if you have feedback.  Lately, the blog has been fairly quiet, in terms of visits it receives, but you never know when some I’ve published here will pique the interest of a reader.

 

I appreciate the time of those who are visitors.  I have been tying my blog to the not-for-profit, and also trying to be jovial as I know it is as yet an amateur effort.  I feel blogging will continue to play a role in the time I have to write, as it is a splendid little spot of fun that has a pragmatic purpose.