Friday, October 11, 2013

Gap Analysis

Four days' lag time from the last post to this one! Three days ago my director called me up fairly late in the afternoon and requested in-depth analysis of certain areas of my territory. He called it "Gap Analysis" and "sorry for the short notice, KI" - he needed it all done by first thing Friday morning Toronto time.

And then he emailed me the data from which I would be working. 

I dug in on Wednesday morning and struggled late into the night: I contacted professors, librarians, bookstores; I researched courses and websites; I prowled through my own work history. I didn't make much of a dent.

Thursday loomed large and menacing. I was conscious of all the dishes piled up in the kitchen from the regular Wednesday evening meeting, but I pushed them out of my mind. I kept all the blinds shut in the room, so no one would come by. I turned off the ringer on my phone. Fortified with cup after cup of Dilmah tea, I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. 

At 4:45, early on Friday morning, I eased my computer into "Sleep" mode and headed off to bed myself with only a glancing thought of the dishes.

An hour later Debbie, the lady who cleans the TH every week, arrived.

When I got downstairs at 9:30, preparing for my phone meeting, I apologized for the state of the kitchen; she volunteered to do the dishes, but I took one look at her tired face and gratefully declined. "I'll get them done this evening," I assured her.

I hurtled into Red Deer and met a dear friend for a late lunch and a much-needed chat. Then it was on to the grocery run to get supplies for the turkey dinner we serve each Thanksgiving Sunday.

I finally limped home at about 7:30, to be greeted with the outside lights on, welcoming me. I unlocked the back door and the entry light was on. Wandering into the kitchen, I saw that it was spotless, the counters gleaming and the tell-tale little light of the dishwasher glowing.

This could mean only one thing: Brenda had been in the house ...

No Thanksgiving month can go by without my giving thanks for this wonderful woman and friend to the TH and to me. On Monday she had had an encounter with the sidewalk where the sidewalk won. Her glasses were scratched and her poor face was bruised; her back felt like she had been pounded on by a street gang.

Brenda demonstrates, usually behind the scenes, the grace of God to me every single week. She drops by, ostensibly to say hi, and immediately puts on an apron. When we are running behind in the kitchen, she walks around the dining room, chatting to people at each table, serving refills of coffee and water, clearing plates and offering reassurance. The mood in the room lightens after she's been out there for a few minutes.

She helps with the Tuesday Manor meeting and the Wednesday TH meeting as well. When I have to go away, I know I can leave the details in her capable hands.

Most of all, she listens to me, she prays for me, and she loves me. She offers wise counsel and she can keep her counsel.

As I started to get ready for the weekend I reviewed the week in my mind. "Gap Analysis" had dominated my thoughts and time; but I had received no idea if the information I had submitted was correct or how it would benefit the organization.

I compared that situation to a statement in the book of Ezekiel:

And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before me for the land ... (chapter 22, first part of verse 30)

God is saying these words, and He goes on to say that there was no one to stand in the gap.

This week I felt like the gap was so big it was turning into a precipice. Analyzing it only made it worse. And then Brenda came along and stood in it, doing whatever she could, quietly and with no fanfare and no expectation of reward or praise. She just did it for the glory of God and because she saw a place where she could be of service.

She analysed the gap and filled it.

Here's a deceptively simple, simply exquisite interpretation of the old hymn "I Need Thee Every Hour": 


  1. Great tribute to a great Lady! I love her as well!!

  2. Brenda is such a dear and I'm so thankful she is in your life. I am particularly thankful she came to clean up the kitchen for you. What a relief that must have been.

    What a kind thing you have done taking the time to give a tribute to her. I love that lady and am always thrilled to see her when I visit the TH (wish it could be more often).

    And I love you, Karyn. Any time we are able to get together an oasis is created and the heart-heaviness goes out the window and the spirit inside is renewed. Today I am thankful for you, my dear.

  3. Wonderful lady!! Wonderful truths Karyn!

  4. dear Brenda! How I miss spending days with her.


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