Names, Numbers, Formulas

August 17, 2012

I just finished up the third week of my new job as an administrative assistant at the school.  My responsibilities include sorting through student applications, compiling lists on excel worksheets, processing information on school demographics records, pulling up attendance reports, and doing this with efficiency and accuracy.  Names, numbers, formulas.

Don’t get me wrong, I love office work.  I enjoy staying organized and I play with excel worksheets for fun (blush).  These tasks need to be accomplished as a means to deliver a quality education for our students.  And yet the paperwork induces restlessness deep down inside of me.  I think because somehow numbers reduce our humanity.  The applications can’t tell me about the nerves these new students feel approaching a strange environment.  The paperwork can’t deliver the nuances of each family’s struggles and successes.  Lists are not life producing.  They manage, categorize, and control.  They do not tell stories.  They cannot love, forgive, have fun, and cry.

Sometimes I fear our society has become so fast paced and cluttered with to-do-lists a mile long that we have become merely names on applications and numbers on lists.  I hope I am not alone in wanting to wiggle myself out of checkboxes and demanding to live a more abandoned, dynamic life beyond routine reports.  We are more than another name and status update on someone’s news feed.  We are more than numbers on someone’s list.  We are more than another slot in someone’s schedule.

We are human beings created in the image of an intense, dynamic, unpredictable God.

A God who has thrown together a cosmos with a dizzying array of planets, stars, suns, and moons.

A God who has a seemingly limitless palette of colors with which He paints the sky, the earth, and the waters.

A God who loves, forgives, parties, and weeps.

This God gave us life, and damned if we let ourselves be confined to names, numbers, and formulas.