… then I have a feeling I would be the most loved girl ever.
I couldn’t stop the tears from springing to my eyes as I cleaned them all out of my desk today. As I collected the pictures and random Panda fortunes I’ve looked at every day while tapping away at my computer … so much evidence of a job that I’ve loved with all my heart and that’s loved me fiercely right back. I smiled to myself as I took out the three or four cards that filled my name badge – “Operations Assistant” – “Teacher” – “Camp Director” … so many hats that I’ve filled over the past five years at CYT. But there’s one that I’m leaving behind tomorrow …
There won’t be any more “Lydia font” on the Staff Meeting Minutes … no more emails answering questions that bear my signature … no more Lydia voice on the answering machine (thank goodness for that! 🙂 … no more taking school day reservations or season ticket orders or Christmas Quartets bookings. My days of calming ticket storms and registration issues are now over … and the office will no longer be mine.
How it’s changed over the years! You think it’s not that long, but then all of a sudden, you pull out a filing cabinet in which you’ve been calmly putting each school days show file into, and you realize with amazement that you’ve filled the whole thing – YOU have, in just your few years of working there.
Few? Well, five to be exact. And when it all began, there I was, just a naïve little nineteen year old, with no one to train me, and a 40-hour week job called “Operations Assistant” to figure out on my own. Good thing I thought the whole thing was a grand adventure and I loved everything CYT-related! From one box and binder to the next, I explored all the territory, and began shaping it into something that would be uniquely mine for five years. Five years. Who knew it would be that amount of time when I began? That’s how long our lease was when we moved into the Studio at the beginning … and I thought that sounded like such a long time! Little did I know that that would be my stay-time in the office as well … an office that began in a little box of a room through which the Magic Wall opened in to (give me a shout-out if you remember the days when kids would write letters to the Magic Wall … and it would *magically* write back! :). It then moved to an off-campus office as part of another building ten minutes away … and then it came back home to a different room in the Studio (and to think, some people never knew that room as a classroom!). I think of all the various people I’ve worked with over the years … how I cried with their leaving … and now it’s my turn to leave. I never thought it could happen – I wondered how, although I knew the time would eventually come.
I love the way God’s grace works, though … how He gently puts new desires and passions into our hearts, slowly removing the old, and making it possible to move on when you never thought you could let go. The office has been such a sweet realm for me over the years – such a good place for me to grow and develop my skills. But it truly has morphed so much from what it was when I first began – when I used to enter in every ticket order and registration by hand (and people wonder why I was stressed during the 3500 ticket blitz of “Peter Pan”??) … when Doug and Nickle and I were the only ones in the office … when I covered the walls of my little cubby hole with all the old pictures from past audition sheets … when we’d go out for lunch at IHOP or Casa de Oro or go on field trips to Costco for snack shack supplies. :]
There were many times that I wanted to quit – many times when I tried to quit – but the job kept pulling me back in, and I couldn’t let go. I know now that that was God’s way of saying, “No, it’s not time to leave yet. You still have a purpose here.” And it was true … even through some of the most difficult times of my job God was refining me and making me a person that I couldn’t have become any other way. He taught me life lessons that I will never forget, and prepared me for a role at CYT that I am now so excited to step into. My confidence was built, my leadership skills honed and matured, my speech-giving skills refined (thank you, Doug, for counting the number of “um’s” in my speeches!), and my humility grown by leaps and bounds. I thank every single one of my bosses that I’ve worked with over the past five years for teaching me something different … for being patient with stubborn, willful me who thought she knew it all, and needed someone to tell her different! Thank you for instilling within me not only that love and passion for CYT, but also the qualifications needed to properly run it. Obviously those haven’t been mastered yet, but my hope and prayer is that I would never stop learning – that I would always keep my eyes open – and see what more the next phase of my involvement with CYT can teach me.
I’ve loved so much about my job at CYT. Call me crazy, but I’ve loved every paper clip, Sharpie, stapler (NOT the printers! They’ve been the bane of my existence at CYT … :P), and of course, every sticky note in the office. :] As friend Joshua Taylor commented one time, “What if Lydia was to forgo all the sticky notes on her desk at work, then CYT would fall apart … and you don’t want that to happen, do you?” 😀 Well, I don’t know about CYT falling apart! But I do know that no other office item has been quite the friend as those handy-dandy little colored squares with adhesive running across the tops of them … they’ve kept my sanity and helped me accomplish tasks big and small.
And best of all … was coming into work and seeing an unexpected sticky note stuck to my computer with an encouraging note from one of the kids. I love surprise notes more than I can say, especially when I’ve had a rough day … and all those notes left on my desk touched my heart in ways I can’t even express. I cherish the words written on them … and the memories of discovering them left for me by the ones who love me – the kids who mean so much to me. The best is when they decide to write notes on fourteen of them and hide them all over your desk so that you discover them, sometimes months later, on the inside of a cupboard door … or stuck under your mousepad. :] Almost as great as the mysterious LITTLE GREEN DICE that show up in the craziest places … 😉 And friends who specifically plant them everywhere to freak you out and lead you on a scavenger hunt before you can even begin to start working!
From jumping off of desks after labeling whiteboards … to nerpiness when you’ve been ticketing for waaaay too long! From crazy ladies who call on the phone and talk to you for an hour [and you and your office mate argue over who will answer the phone when you see the name show up on the caller ID!] to hot lunches being the thing you look most forward to on a cold day … from the agonies of dying office equipment to the excitement of ticket numbers building every day … from “hot voice guy” to strawberry shortcake at staff meetings … from Christmas gift exchanges at Chinese restaurants in the middle of a snowstorm to a game of “Things” spicing up a meeting … from winter wonderlands magically placed on your work station by a dear friend to getting to just go dance in the dance room if you need a little break … from colored ticket-stock to gray ticket-stock … from deciphering ticket orders one by one to fighting over the space heater and listening to one musical after another as we worked … it’s been the best five years I could ever ask for. Thank you to everyone who made my office experience so beautiful and memorable.
In the past, I knew that I needed to give up other things to stay with a job I couldn’t bear to leave. Now, I know that it’s time to give this part of my life up so I can focus on other things God has called me to. But I don’t believe that leaving CYT will ever be part of the plan. Though the office phase has ended, it’s only so that a new phase can open up – one which I’m ever so excited about, and which, I believe will hold just as many rich memories and experiences as this past one has. Thank God for this beautiful place and for the people who had the dream to start it. I thank Him every day that this passion was created … and I pray that I might have the privilege of being able to continue living out that passion for years to come. Stage 2, you’ve been blessed and beautiful. Bring it on, Stage 3!