Friday, September 2, 2016
Public Service Reminders v. 5.0
We stayed on a lake in the mountains with Jason's family at the beginning of August. I watched the weather app on my phone for the two weeks leading up to our trip. I knew what I needed to pack and I was thrilled when I had my suitcase prepared before Jason did. I laid on our bed and bragged while he folded and stuffed his clothes into a bag of his own.
Forty-eight hours after being at the lake, I could be found wearing the same shorts I arrived in. This is abnormal for me, but -you see- I packed wrong. I brought a single pair of shorts because I was counting on cold, crisp mountain weather that didn't happen. I had pants and sleeves all prepared, but they were ill-fitting for the sunny, bright days we got.
I wanted to be embarrassed. I wanted to hide my outfit and I hoped deep in me that his family didn't notice. But somehow, I kept coming back to, this is my family and I'm unprepared. The shorts were a reminder that we're always unprepared. Aren't we naive and confused in one way or another always? It's the odd, blessed miracle when we have all the right things in our bag.
This is a public service reminder: we're all trying to prove our capability.
But we're messes with the wrong things packed in our bags. We've brought band-aids to heal major wounds, we're trying to stop a flood with a tea cup, we're hoping a cocktail umbrella will provide some shelter from life's storms.
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Our office building is being rennovated. Two men are working hard to do the work that's probably better suited for a dozen men. They're busy and making progress and being overseen by a jerk. He swings by at random times and wants to assert his dominance. He tests them on the name of tools (NO THAT'S A CRESCENT WRENCH.) and tells them to do it how they see fit, but then criticizes their choice.
I can't stand the man. He's rude, he's mean, and it takes every cell in my body not to tell him how important kindness is. But, he doesn't even notice me. He doesn't notice my door is open and I can hear his unpleasant management style. He doesn't notice when I walk by and say hello. He doesn't notice anything outside of himself.
And I have spent more time than I can count thinking about him, about how I have do and will do the same. I realize the places and points where I've represented myself so poorly. I try to counteract the embarrassments that result with the moments I'm proud, but humility is a vital part of life, right?
This is a public service reminder: people are watching you and making judgments.
I know, it sounds creepy and weird. But we have to realize the ripples that extend beyond our initial interactions. Like, our kindness makes an impression beyond the person who receives it. And -in extension- so does our rudeness.
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Speaking of offices, I'm dealing with some frustrations at work. I'm trying to ask some questions and understand the fine points of our union contract. It's completely foreign territory to me -my dad handled all these things many, many years ago. We've let the questions sit for years too long and it's time to take the bull by the horns.
So, I've grabbed tight and I'm trying hard to be kindly stern in getting answers (even if I have to ask so many times that it hurts my ego). This is insanely frustrating because of the many people who make many decisions and the need to talk to all of them. Also, because I don't understand so much of the process so my eyes are being opened to a ton of new information. Also, because the systems in place aren't particularly easy to move within which means I'm calling and emailing a dozen different people in hopes that one of them can point me the right way.
It's all of our faults that this is so frustrating.
This is a public service reminder: frustrating things happen -what matters is how you respond to it.
I'm not one who claims patience or understanding. I'm also not usually the one to need to rely deeply on the patience of another human. So give patience because one day you'll depend on it.
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