There is an old joke that goes: After one of the catastrophic hurricanes that hit the coast of America, a news crew was cruising the area looking for stories. They came across a guy who was sitting on the rooftop of his home. Water was rushing by the house halfway up to the roof. The camera crew reached the man and started asking questions about his dilemma. As they were talking, they noticed that a hat floated down to the property line and then abruptly turned back and went to the opposite property line. Then it did it again and again. The reporter was dumbfounded. When he asked the homeowner what he thought it was, he said: “Aw, ain’t no big deal. That’s Jeb. He said he was going to mow his yard come hell or high water.”
How many of us do the Jeb thing? We do things that make absolutely no sense because we are determined to make it work? This problem isn’t just mine, is it?
I told a Sales Manager one time that I was like a Pitt Bull. Once I sink my teeth into something I don’t let go. It helped get me the job, but I think that philosophy is flawed if you live in the real world. There is a time to dig in and a time to let go. For us Pitt Bulls, letting go can cause a lot of pain because we can’t admit we bit off more than we could chew, or we bit into the wrong thing.
If you are a strong-willed person, here is my advice:
Learn to let go at the right time. Holding on too long or letting go too soon can cost you. There is a time that is perfect…even for letting go.
Letting go does not have to mean you lose. It is a reflection of who and where you are and necessary for survival.
If it starts raining and you are mowing, pay attention.
Learn the lesson. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
In the words of the great Kenny Rogers, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away and know when to run.”
This is not about the TV show that was on many years ago. This is about a true life Angel that I work with. I had back surgery on Good Friday and came back to work on the following Tuesday. It was probably pushing it to come back that soon, but the rep for the medical device company told me that I would be able to resume work by Monday if I wanted to.
It turns out the Doctor recommends taking it easy for at least two weeks after surgery, but that was not communicated. Tuesday was a long day…no doubt. As I was doing my cafeteria duty, one of the teachers in my school came over to give me a hug and check on me. She asked me why I was back at work so soon. I told her I had used up my days off to go on the mission trip to Guatemala in December, and I burned up my last day on Monday to give me one more day of rest. She said: “I have nine remaining days off. They are yours if you want them.” Wow!
When someone does something so unselfish, what do you do? It made me tear up. I laughed and told her, “It is not good to make an old man cry.” She reassured me that I could have her days off if I needed more time to recuperate. I thanked her profusely but told her I would only do that if it were a dire emergency. The act of her unselfish kindness made my day. It literally lifted my spirits at a time when I was getting pretty tired.
Things I learned:
People who advise you don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart (the sales rep).
Sometimes you don’t get the advice you need (the Doctor).
Even in difficult circumstance good things can happen (the Angel).
Angels are among us. She may not be an Angel in Biblical terms, but at the very least she is a Saint in my book.
I am truly grateful that we have a great team of people to work with. We have our issues from time to time, but when someone needs help, they are there.
I don’t mean to be crude, but sometimes life sucks. I don’t know why things happen like they do, but there is always a lesson to learn. The question I have to deal with is: What now?
One of my fatal flaws is that I believe people will do the right thing. I believe them when they say they are doing something in my behalf. I believe them when they tell me that they are going to do it when they say they will do it. I believe that they have no hidden agenda. How stupid is that? Pretty naive, huh? Shouldn’t I have learned that lesson by now? Apparently not.
The lesson for me is that I have to start paying attention to red flags and gut checks. I have a bad habit of thinking the best even when people are manipulating me. I know God must be shaking His head when I don’t pay attention to the warning signs. Maybe I need some new glasses…at least spiritually.
I don’t want to be a skeptic and always suspect the worst in others, but somehow I have to get to the point where I can see the red flags and listen to the gut checks. I need to be able to see people for who they are, not who they say they are. It really bums me out how some people seem to have no conscience and do whatever they need to do to benefit themselves at the expense of others. It is particularly tragic when these people claim to have morals and scruples. Is it any wonder that some people scoff at people of faith?
It reminds me that I have to be a man of my word…always. Lord, help me to be someone who is authentic. Help me to be a giver…not a taker. Help me to love others the way You do, and help me to forgive those who have wronged me. Help me do what is right, not what’s convenient or just benefits me. Most of all, help me learn the lesson.