Job 1: To Be A Noticer

Once upon a time, I grew up in a family that was very oriented to jobs. Because it was expected that everyone would help. The kids. The grownups. We were all to pitch in. That’s what family did.

What family did at Canadian Thanksgiving, was travel 250 miles from Edmonton, Alberta to Kerrobert, Saskatchewan. Edmonton is where I lived with my mom and my sister. Edmonton was also home to Auntie Di and Uncle Frank, and their two kids / my cousins. Edmonton was home to Uncle John and Auntie Mary Lynne. There were a few others that would make the trip from time to time. Family by friendship, which felt as thick as blood. Kerrobert was where Grandma and Grandpa lived, parents to my mom, Di, and John. A small home in a small town (in the picture above, that’s boy-child me celebrating my birthday, and young Auntie Di on the side — on a Thanksgiving Weekend likely in the mid 70s). Granny and Grampa’s home had a ping pong table in the basement, a yard in which we could play games, and enough floor space for all of us to sprawl out in a puppy pile sleep over.

A family job at Thanksgiving was to wash and wax everyone’s cars. We were prepping the cars for the winter. Some people washed. Some waxed on. Some waxed off. Some did the interior detailing. My job was often to clean the hubcaps and bumpers with an SOS pad and get them good and shiny (back when chrome was a thing on cars). We bundled up warm — Octobers in Saskatchewan can be nippy. We took pride in the work. We got the job done.

Fast forward to now, I still relate to having jobs. The wood still needs to be chopped. The meals need to be prepared. The dishes need to be done. The jobs, however, have changed. I’m really interested in the job of being a good noticer, participating in observing and becoming aware about what is really going on in the world. In the world in front of me. In the world in front of me that is connected to the broader world. The inner world and the outer world. In teams. In communities. In families. Being a thoughtful observer is a job, so that on occasion, we can evolve these many layers of world to more understanding — I relate to this.

One of the ways that I do the job of noticing is that I blog, and I enjoy reading others blogs. My noticing. Their noticing. Shawna Lemay is one of those, who I’ve mentioned before. I love her tagline, “You are required to make something beautiful.” It’s a job.

Shawna’s post earlier this week was about why she blogs (excerpted below). She wrote of “persistences.” With each that I read, I took an extra in-breath of delight in her description. She was writing a version of awareness in blogging that I really relate to. I blog mostly, because I like to notice things. I like the feeling. I like to make sense of things. I like to pay attention to the mystery within which I live. Blogging helps me to do that.

Enjoy these below, from Shawna, on why she keeps blogging.

  • I persist because when I keep my eye out for things to share, I find things that feed into the rest of my writing, and that, frankly, make my life richer. I sit with them a bit longer than I would if I were merely scrolling through my Facebook or Twitter feed. I mull more because I blog.
  • I persist because I’m kind of addicted to this kind of writing. The kind where you open up a new blog post window and just start typing and hoping.
  • I persist because I never really know what my next post is going to be. And I want to find out.
  • I persist because I’m so vain and I love my photographs, and I want to put them somewhere nice, of my own making.
  • I persist because the only reason I dust the surfaces of the tables in my house is so that I can take photos for my blog.
  • I persist because I really do believe that we’re all required to make something beautiful and some days this is my attempt.

Blogs can be messy, which is why I’ve always liked them. They’re written on the fly in between part-time work, side-hustles, running the eternal errands, reading books, conversations with friends, cleaning the house, making dinner, and the so-called “real” writing. 

Job 1: To Be A Noticer. And to dare to bring that forward in the essential humanness of encountering each other with our noticing.

Job 1A: Don’t forget the hubcaps and bumpers.