Thursday, December 01, 2005
Mission Statement? Sure, I Got One Of Those.
Much like the pre-couch hopping Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, I find myself sick, self-medicated and assured that my thoughts should be everyone's thoughts. It is, yes, my mission statement.
Tonight, I worked my nine hour shift and just like so many nine hour shifts before it, I didn't get rich. I did, however, spend ten minutes talking with a good and valued friend of mine. She, like my wife, is my friend because I don't think hearts get more special than hers. Her compassion for others is overwhelming and her general kindness to people is reaffirming.
It's as easy for me to say "life's not fair" as it is for someone else to say, "who ever said it was?" But each day I see so much rudeness by so many people who, if they would just slow down a bit, would know that there really is no need for their behaviors. Selfish people get their way at the expense of others by complaining and throwing tantrums wherever they go. The squeaky wheels bring me down.
And all the while, there are nice people just trying to make it in life, being walked on by the brash, who happily infantilize those who are there to help them. It's a big world, people. We can afford the time and space to be nice to one another. I have friends with more sadness than they deserve because they are just emotionally beat up all of the time.
I remember once, several years ago, my dad and stepmom had my brother do some volunteer work in a soup kitchen for the homeless. That is just one of so many good parenting decisions they made as they raised their children in this world. My brother, now a young man, is a man I am proud to know. He has success in his work and makes a good living, but he is defined as a man with a good heart. He cares for others and his sincerity really shows.
I'll be vague about my job but will share that I often juggle the different needs of several customers at once. It's unavoidable that to satisfy one, another will feel mistreated. There's no way around that. I employ a sense of empathy and kindness, but typically I am just treated as if I am subservient and not worth a kind word. Does that get to me? Sure. But I only mention it to remember that after 9/11, it was not the case at all.
I suppose that we were all in a state of shock, but it seems that everyone I came into contact with knew what life was all about. I was there to help, and they were appreciative and grateful. We were all one people and we were nice to one another. I noticed that and hated the reason for it of course, but loved the kindness that was occurring.
It didn't take us long, however, to get back to bitching about waiting ten minutes for a free ride to our hotel, yelling at restaurant hostesses about not getting an immediate table on a Saturday night, or cutting someone off in traffic to get somewhere we don't want to be in the first place.
Maybe we all need to get some time in helping out in our local soup kitchens and homeless shelters. We need to say thank you a bit more sincerely to the people who help us out in our daily routines (the grocery store cashier, the waitress at the diner, the parking garage attendant). At the very least, we need to hug our loved ones a lot more. We need to hug for the sake of hugging.
To my friend at work, I'm grateful for our friendship. Everything you do is worthwhile.
To my wife, I am everything because you love me. I'm gonna give you a big hug tomorrow.
And to my village of parents, I thank you all for raising me to be who I am. I've certainly got my struggles and I tend to dwell on my perceived failings a bit much, but the important thing is that I like who I am. For that, I credit you all.
(In the movie version of my life, this is where Bob Sugar fires me and I go on to start my own company.)